The Hunger Games Prequel Finally Has A Release Date, And I'm Pumped

Effie Trinket and Katniss Everdeen when she is picked for 74th Hunger Games
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

We’ll be back in Panem sooner rather than later! The Hunger Games franchise has been set to come back to the big screen since Suzanne Collins published her 2020 prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and now we finally know when we can expect the bestseller to be adapted. The next Hunger Games movie has been given a release date by Lionsgate, and it's less than two years away! 

During Lionsgate’s panel at 2022 CinemaCon, which CinemaBlend was in attendance for, it was announced that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to be released on November 17, 2023. It’s a nostalgic date for the Hunger Games franchise, considering three of four movies also came out the weekend before Thanksgiving. 

Francis Lawrence, who also directed Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2, is returning to helm the prequel. During the CinemaCon presentation, a brief teaser was shown that read: “You’re invited to return to the Games” and “In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird and who is a snake” as a CGI icy bird and snake thaws, revealing them to be gold, served as the only visuals. 

With seven years since the last Hunger Games movie, I’m pumped to see the franchise return, even though (spoiler alert) our beloved Katniss and Peeta are not expected to be in this movie. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Cornelius Snow during the 10th Hunger Games. He is a mentor to a District 12 tribute named Lucy Gray Baird, who becomes a Capitol favorite after showing off her singing chops. 

While the release date is a huge step for the Hunger Games prequel, it seems as though Lionsgate has yet to cast its leads or begin production. There is about a year and a half until The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes' arrival, so it seems like the next few months could see the project finally go into full gear. 

Since the first Hunger Games film first hit theaters a decade ago, the franchise has amassed a gross of $2.97 billion worldwide and remained both critically acclaimed and beloved by fans from start to finish. The original films propelled stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth to a whole new level of fame. 

The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes saw Suzanne Collins subverting the villain origin story one might expect from a prequel of this nature. The book is different from the original series because it tells its story from the perspective of a privileged man rather than a young underdog in the world of Panem. It delves deeper into the lore of the Hunger Games, 50 years before Katniss comes into the picture. 

While we wait for more news about upcoming movie releases like The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, you can stream all four Hunger Games movies

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.