With all of the great things that have happened with “The Hunger Games,” lately there have been quite a few problems for the film–or at least the franchise. Director Gary Ross might not be back for the sequel, “Catching Fire.” Jennifer Lawrence has a scheduling issue. And now there appears to be one more GIANT issue.
The Hollywood Reporter is writing that the battle of Jennifer Lawrence between 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate has reached a resolution. Lawrence, who is under contract with both, is obligated to 20th Century Fox and the “X-Men” franchise. She played Mystique in the previous film, “X-Men: First Class.”
It appears that the sequel to “X-Men: First Class” will shoot in January, which will free up Lawrence for an August-September start date for “Catching Fire.” Seems like great news, right? Wrong.
Lionsgate already announced that “Catching Fire” will hit theaters in November 2013. That means shooting will have to be done quickly and it will have to be edited and in the can fast. As in “Rocky” fast, which shot in 28 days. Then they’d have to edit like crazy to hit that date. It isn’t likely, especially if there is any CGI involved with the film. Also, Lionsgate had tremendous success with their run-up marketing campaign. They’ll likely want to do a similar campaign for the sequel.
So what does that mean? If the film can’t hit a November date, it’s going to be Summer 2014 before “Catching Fire’ releases. With the massive success of “The Hunger Games,” there is no way a sequel gets a spring release date. It’s Summer Blockbuster or November/December.
With fans already griping about the November 2013 date, how much more ticked off are they going to be if they have to wait another 6-8 months for “Catching Fire?” More importantly, Jennifer Lawrence is already pushing the age limits of Katniss, her character. Lawrence is going to outgrow the young-ish looks needed for Katniss. The only way for Lionsgate to get this thing done right would be to shoot the final two films at the same time.
That way, fans could know that it won’t be four years until a final film will be released. That might keep them happy.
UPDATE: If “The Hunger Games” is shooting this Fall, they’ll obviously hit the November 2013 date. However, there is no way that both remaining sequels for the franchise will be shot at the same time.