Following in the footsteps of fellow young adult franchises Harry Potter and Twilight, Lionsgate decided to split the final entry in their mega-successful dystopian film series, The Hunger Games, into two parts. With a heavy emphasis on arena survival and kid-on-kid combat in both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Mockingjay - Part 1 marks a significant turning point in the story of District 12's golden girl, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) - as the Capitol attempts to quell outright rebellion around Panem.
The first teaser for the film placed heavy emphasis on Katniss' fragile mental state following the events of Catching Fire - most notably the abduction of friend and fellow-champion Peeta Mellark. Subsequent trailers have expanded the focus, introducing new characters, as well as revealing the Capitol's ruthless suppression tactics. Now, weeks before release, the studio has released their "final" Mockingjay trailer - making it clear just how high the stakes will be in these final two chapters.
While the new trailer spends little time highlighting new allies (such as President Alma Coin played by Julianne Moore), fans are treated to a look at several key returning favorites - including Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), and Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Viewers who want a closer look at propo cameraman Pollux (Elden Henson), production assistant Messalla (Evan Ross), Pollux’s brother Castor (Wes Chatham) and President Alma Coin’s right hand man, Boggs (Mahershala Ali), as well as propo director Cressida (Natalie Dormer) will have to wait for further TV spots (and the final film) but the latest trailer, titled "Burn", focuses on just how far the Capitol will go to suppress District rebellion; not to mention, how far Katniss and her friends will go to fight back.
Prior trailers had revealed the fate of District 12 (and 13) but the latest footage hammers-home the emotional chord that drives film - as Katniss stands amidst debris and rubble with nothing left to lose.
Under the direction of Francis Lawrence, Catching Fire received positive critical reviews and went on to gross over $800 million at the global box office - even with stiff competition from Frozen, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, and Thor: The Dark World. The film outperformed its predecessor in both North America as well as abroad, and the studio is betting the same Thanksgiving weekend release window will cull similar results from Mockingjay - Part 1.
That said, this year, the film will have to compete with Big Hero 6 (which is already receiving rave reviews) as well as the long-awaited Dumb and Dumber To for the interest (and box office dollars) of casual moviegoers. No doubt, The Hunger Games installment will open to strong returns but it will still be interesting to see how many theater seats its competitors can steal away.
We'll keep you up to date if further Mockingjay footage is revealed - but, if you're looking for more Hunger Games right now, you can also check out the film's viral teaser videos.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in U.S. theaters on November 21st, 2014 with Part 2 premiering on November 20, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on The Hunger Games, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.