The Hunger Games: Catching Fire changes things up behind the camera, but keeps the same cast featured in the first installment (based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling YA novels) - including, the new Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland, who are back for a sequel that picks up a short time after Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta's (Hutcherson) victory in the Hunger Games arena.
A full Catching Fire trailer will premiere during the 2013 MTV Movie Awards on April 14th at 9/8c, so in the meantime everyone will have to make due by watching the 20-second teaser. Yes, this ridiculous marketing trend isn't going away - and the actual amount of footage shown here just barely runs longer than the six-second Wolverine sizzle reel from last week - but that, as they say, is the new normal.
In case you missed them, new Catching Fire images (like the one shown below) and character portraits featuring the cast in exquisite Capitol outfits, have hit the 'Net in recent months. Suffice it to say, Summit/Lionsgate have only begun to market their box office juggernaut, which took the #6 spot on Screen Rant's Most Anticipated Movies of 2013.
There's not much footage to appraise here (duh, right?), but these brief snippets from Katniss and Peeta's Victory Tour do suggest that director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) - who took over from Hunger Games writer-director Gary Ross - and director of photography Jo Willems (30 Days of Night, Limitless) are keeping a similar dark color palette and lighting scheme as that used on Ross' adaptation. So, in that sense, Catching Fire and Hunger Games will at least look the same.
Lawrence has ditched Ross' shaky-cam for practical reasons (since part of Catching Fire was shot using IMAX cameras), as well as thematic purposes that have to do with this installment being "the calm before the storm" that will break out during Mockingjay Part 1 and 2. Speaking of which: Danny Strong (Game Change) has finished Part 1 and is currently scripting the second half of Mockingjay for Lawrence to direct (he's also helming Part 1).
By comparison, Oscar-winning screenwriters Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) adapted Collins' Catching Fire book, so no one can fairly claim the source material is being adapted by second-hand or subpar writing talent. Take all that for what it's worth.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in regular and IMAX theaters on November 22nd, 2013.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 releases on November 21st, 2014, while Part 2 opens November 20th, 2015.