The Harry Potter series may have truly began Hollywood's trend toward adapting young-adult novels into big-budget blockbusters, but at the moment The Hunger Games is the reigning champ of how such literary works can be translated into crowd-pleasing film franchises. Even the Divergent series - which debuted last year to a solid $151 million domestic box office take - hasn't managed to capture the same audience attention.
Lionsgate - the studio behind both The Hunger Games and Divergent - landed their first marquee franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence starring sci-fi films. However, despite the somewhat controversial decision to split the trilogy's final installment into two films, it looked like the series was set to come to a definitive end with this year's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Now that might no longer be the case.
According to Deadline, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has revealed that the studio is "actively looking at some development and thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities" to continue The Hunger Games. In addition, Feltheimer confirmed that Mockingjay - Part 2 will be digitally remastered for IMAX 3D for its release this fall and briefly mentioned that the studio is "in significant conversations with at least one theme park" to develop an attraction based on the franchise.
Considering that the series has earned $2.2 billion worldwide, it's no surprise that Lionsgate to eager to keep the world of Panem alive. After all, this is currently the age of interconnected big-screen universes, from which an infinite amount of films can be developed. We've previously heard rumors that the Twilight and Harry Potter series could also continue in some form, despite the lack of substantial narrative source material; the latter, of course, proved true, as spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now on course to arrive in Fall 2016.
The question isn't so much if Lionsgate will try to continue such a lucrative franchise, but exactly what shape subsequent films might take. Fans of The Hunger Games book series know that the story doesn't naturally lend itself to a followup; and with the Oscar-winning Lawrence more in-demand than ever before, Lionsgate may not be able to keep the actress who has become the definitive face of the franchise. The prequel route may be an option, but without Katniss Everdeen, it's questionable whether such a project would pull in the box office numbers the studio wants and satisfy the existing fanbase.
Time will tell how The Hunger Games franchise develops, but don't be surprised if Lionsgate makes an announcement sooner than later. In the meantime, tell us where you want to see the series go next. Are you excited at the prospect of more Hunger Games?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 hits theaters on November 20, 2015.