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‘The Hunger Games’ universe expands with a prequel film in the works

‘Hunger Games’
Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” movies.
(Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Lionsgate on Tuesday announced that it would adapt Suzanne Collins’ highly anticipated novel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” an upcoming prequel, as part of the popular “Hunger Games” film franchise.

The studio will bring on the same creative team that translated some of the novels to the big screen. Francis Lawrence will direct; Michael Arndt, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” will write the screenplay; Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson will produce; and Collins will executive produce and write the film’s treatment.

The picture’s casting has not been announced.

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“Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters,” Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said in a press release Tuesday.

According to a synopsis, “The film will focus on Coriolanus Snow at age 18, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem. Young Coriolanus is handsome and charming, and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, he sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the Tenth Hunger Games… only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.”

The long-awaited prequel to Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” will be called “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

Collins said she was “delighted” that Liongate would be adapting her new novel. “From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honoring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera,” she said in the release.

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Collins’ first three books in the adventure series — “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” — have more than 100 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into 52 languages. Lionsgate’s film adaptations have generated nearly $3 billion in worldwide box office sales.


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