The highly anticipated release of the latest installment in The Hunger Games franchise is causing some concern in the film industry. According to an exclusive report by Deadline, the upcoming dystopian science fiction film, directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Michael Lesslie and Michael Arndt, is projected to have its weakest opening in North America. Despite a substantial budget of around $100 million, the film is expected to debut with only $50 million at the box office. This is a significant drop compared to the franchise’s previous least successful film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, which opened with approximately $102.6 million in 2015 on a budget of $160 million.
While the earlier films in the series gained immense popularity over the years, this latest installment marks a complete reimagining of the franchise, which has collectively earned over $3 billion worldwide across four films.
Based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel, the movie serves as a prequel to the original Hunger Games (2012) and is the fifth film in the series, set 64 years before the events of the first installment. It delves into the backstory of a young Coriolanus Snow and his journey toward becoming the oppressive leader of Panem, exploring his relationship with Hunger Games tribute Lucy Gray Baird during the 10th Hunger Games.
The cast includes Tom Blyth as Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, along with notable actors like Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman, Viola Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Burn Gorman, Ashley Liao, Max Raphael, Zoe Renée, Nick Benson, Isobel Jesper Jones, and George Somner, among others.
Additionally, the tributes for the 10th Hunger Games form an alliance called “the Pack,” consisting of Mackenzie Lansing, Cooper Dillon, Hiroki Berrecloth, and Kjell Brutscheidt. The film also introduces members of Lucy Gray’s traveling musician group, the Covey, portrayed by Dakota Shapiro, Vaughan Reilly, Honor Gillies, Eike Onyambu, and Konstantin Taffet.
In a unique move, the official soundtrack, produced by Geffen Records, will be released alongside the film. The song “The Hanging Tree” has already been premiered, providing fans with an origin story of this iconic tune, which was previously performed by Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.
Renowned composer James Newton Howard has returned to score the film, and the soundtrack will feature tracks like “Pure as the Driven Snow,” reflecting the significant role of music in the prequel’s storyline. Actress Rachel Zegler, who plays Lucy Gray, performed all of her character’s musical numbers live during production. This decision adds an authentic and immersive musical element to the film, drawing from Appalachian-country folk influences and the sounds of artists like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn.