While it did allow us to make that truly excellent title joke, we are not pleased with this news. While today we got the good news that Fox and Lionsgate worked out a filming schedule under which Jennifer Lawrence will be allowed to kick mutant/futuristic butt in both the X-Men: First Class sequel and the follow-up to Hunger Games, it appears that rumors we heard yesterday are true: HG director Gary Ross won’t be returning for Catching Fire. According to Indiewire, Ross has allegedly “exited the franchise.” The site claims it’s a matter of interest rather than one of salary; Ross was supposedly uninterested filming the entire series, which we guess we understand. We get exhausted just watching Katniss sprinting through the underbrush; imagine trying to give her a line read.
All of which makes us ask the question: what direction should the new director take the sequel? Should they go darker, a la The Dark Knight? Keep in mind that the series is already about, you know, a dystopia where children battle to the death for the ruling class’s viewing pleasure. What changes do you hope the director of Catching Fire, whoever he or she may be, will make to the series? Meanwhile, we’re pretty sure we know how they’re going to chose a replacement. Someone better polish up the Cornucopia!
We wouldn’t say Hunger Games is a perfect movie by any means. Well…okay, we have said that. Several times. At the top of our lungs before the credits were even over. Our personal feelings aside, you would think the film’s blockbuster box office and consistently great reviews of star Jennifer Lawrence would be enough for the haters to back on off of it. Sadly, if you read the critics who claimed JLaw was too big to be a believable Panem resident, you know that isn’t entirely true. Luckily Lawrence is allegedly taking it all in stride. “Jennifer told me, ‘This is hilarious,’” a source reported to the Chicago Sun-Times. “‘First, people say how so many actresses in Hollywood look anorexic, and now they are criticizing me for looking normal.’” Haha, it is absurd Jen, but we’re glad you can brush it off. Rather than, say, shooting an arrow through somebody’s MacBook Air. She could do that, you know. She has the training.
And now The Hollywood Reporter claims that tense negotiations between Lionsgate and director Gary Ross could potentially delay the filming of HG sequel Catching Fire. Allegedly Ross is trying to up his salary from the $3 million plus 5% of profits he made to shoot the first movie. After raking in $214 million its first weekend, Hunger Games has made over $363 million! So unless Ross is asking for $362 million, we say give it to him. Haters, will you never stop hating?
Alexander Ludwig has been omnipresent during all The Hunger Games promotional activities that unfurled over the last few months. We didn’t really know much about him before the movie, but he really made his mark playing the role of brutal Cato. The 19-year-old Canadian actor looks quite relaxed on red carpets, often pairing jeans with either plaid shirts or leather jackets. Which is why his Da Man cover for April and May is such an eye opener! He looks impeccable in a suit and actually pulls off slicked, side-parted hair!
Snippets of his interview reveal the transformation he had to undergo to play Cato. He said, “I gained almost 40 pounds of muscle for this role. I’m currently working on getting back to how I was before Cato. As an actor, I feel that it’s important to make a physical commitment to create a character and it’s also important for me to return to my normal self.” We almost applauded that answer. Did you also know that Ludwig was a musician? We had no idea, but he told the magazine, “Check out my new song ‘Liv It Up’ currently available on iTunes! I’ve always been very passionate about music and am currently working on creating an album…” Keep your eye out for this one. We’re wondering if he has anything lined up after The Hunger Games. Cato was his first big role after 2009′s Race To Witch Mountain, FYI. More, please!
[Photo via Da Man]
We barely even want to get into the awfulness that is the racist backlash against the casting of adorable Amandla Stenberg as Hunger Games tribute Rue. Apparently forgetting that Twitter is visible to everyone on the planet, even those of us that are not utter jerks, some fans took umbrage with the fact that Rue was depicted as African-American in the blockbuster film. As if blatant racism isn’t bad enough (and it truly, truly is), clearly these morons did not even read the book, which describes both District 11 tributes Rue and Thresh (portrayed by Dayo Okeniyi) has having “dark brown skin.” We are seconds away from a rage stroke, people!
Luckily for her mental well-being, and for our sky-rocketing blood pressure, Stenberg isn’t about to let haters break her stride. “As a fan of the books, I feel fortunate to be part of The Hunger Games family,” she told Us Weekly in a statement. “It was an amazing experience; I am proud of the film and my performance. I want to thank all of my fans and the entire Hunger Games community for their support and loyalty.” Can we send this girl some crescent bread studded with seeds on a tiny parachute, please? As if we hadn’t cried over little Rue enough already! Alright, what’s a few more hours?
[Photo: Getty Images]
Do you still have the shakes from Hunger Games withdrawal? Have you still not seen it because you don’t like to follow the pack? Are you reading this from your mobile device as you wait for the trailers to begin on your umpteenth viewing? Whichever category you fall into, we thought you’d benefit from a different perspective of the film, from the authors of the next book-to-movie adaptations you’ll probably get hooked on. On Monday, we gave you Shatter Me author Tahereh Mafi’s fangirl review. Here’s a review from Maggie Stiefvater, whose books The Scorpio Races, Shiver and the upcoming The Raven Boys are published by Suzanne Collins’ home, Scholastic. And yes, the former two have been optioned by movie studios.
I don’t think you have any idea how many movie trailers have horses in them. Next time you go to the theater, count. I will spoil it for you: there are a million. I never realized this until my latest novel, The Scorpio Races, got optioned by Warner Brothers and KatzSmith Productions. It’s about an island where people race deadly Irish water horses that emerge from the November sea. Of all my novels, it’s the one I most imagined as a movie, and now that it’s been optioned, every trailer with a horse in it becomes an imaginary trailer for The Scorpio Races.
It gets exhausting.
Last weekend, I went to see The Hunger Games. They showed two trailers with horses in them. Through both of them, my husband looked at me knowingly. My I-wish-those-were-my-killer-water-horses face is easy to identify. Once I got past the fact of the horses, I could get down to my other two movie hobbies.
1) Obsessing about the mood
2) Picking at the edges
Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence appeared on the cover of Germany’s Interview magazine wearing a super sexy low cut corsette studded with precious stones! Wait a second: pantsless, sparkly and uber hot…has Jennifer been raiding Rihanna’s closet? With the record breaking weekend THG had at the box office, you’d think that Jennifer could afford to live in diamond encrusted clothes. But apparently she’s yet to get that insanely massive payday. “When I get my first real check, I want to bathe in a pool full of pasta,” she says. Kind of like that woman from Patch Adams?
Although she’s become known around the world as the butt-kicking Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence says she wants to take on a slightly different role. “I want to be Bridget Jones,” she told the magazine. We totally see it! Maybe a Bridget Jones prequel is in order? It’ll be weird seeing Jennifer do a movie without a bow, but we’ll have to deal.
At first glance, this twitpic looks perfectly innocuous. It’s a group of girls on movie night. But look closer at the two blonds in the middle of the picture and you’ll see that this isn’t just a random ladies night out. It’s Taylor Swift and Dianna Agron! And they were watching The Hunger Games together, not at some special screening, but at a regular ol’ movie theatre in L.A. A pal of theirs called Abbey Cameron tweeted the photograph, saying, “The Hunger Games with the girlfriends” which is how we found out about their little excursion. Looks like there is zero tension even though Tim Tebow invited both Taylor and Dianna to his second annual ‘Tim Tebow Foundation Charity Golf Tournament’ on April 14 in Ponte Vedra. Remember how Tim and Taylor supposedly dated? Can’t blame him for wanting both the blonds around him, though. They’re both gorgeous, even when they’re dressed casual. Darn.
[Photo via Twitter]
Related: Tim Tebow is the 342,528th Man Rumored To Have Dated Taylor Swift
We’re still in the process of coming down from our Hunger Games high, and worried about withdrawal symptoms. So naturally, we have to think of other things to look forward to, like all the other dystopian YA novels that will one day be made into movies. Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me is one such book, and it just so happens that she’s a Hunger Games superfan as well. That’s why we asked her to share her review of the movie as she thinks about whether her own adaptation will one day whip us into a record-breaking frenzy.
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that The Hunger Games does to me what sloths to do Kristen Bell. I’ve made several unverified statements about sharpie-tattooing “PEETA4EVA” on my forehead, always freak out when I meet people with Mockingjay tattoos and have lied multiple times about showing up to the premiere with little more than a bag of pita bread and a bucket for my tears. So to say that I was really excited to see this movie would be a huge, hilarious understatement.
For us rabid fans, our expectations are a little higher, a little harder to satisfy. We’re the ones who already know exactly what The Hunger Games is all about, the ones who know that Suzanne Collins’ gripping dystopian novel is much more than a story about 24 kids who have to kill each other on national television. We’ve been curled up in a fetal position since the series ended, quietly rocking back and forth in anticipation of its cinematic debut. But I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be okay. We’re all going to be okay.
Because they nailed it.
Move over Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even Twilight (gasp): there’s a new record breaking film franchise in town! The first installment of The Hunger Games series opened this weekend to rapturous reviews and once-in-a-lifetime sales figures. When we broke down the numbers last week, the film was expected to pull in the still-huge amount of $125 million. But the saga ended up breaking records for a springtime opening, taking in an incredible $155 million in North America alone over the weekend. When you factor in the $59.25 million it took in overseas, that brings the total to a staggering $214 million! Not bad for an $80 million dollar price tag.
The spring record was previously held by Tim Burton’s 3-D reboot of Alice In Wonderland back in 2010, which clocked in at $119 million for its first weekend. But those figures could be considered a little inflated when you consider that ticket prices for a 3-D movie are higher than one in plain old cinemascope, which makes The Hunger Games performance over the weekend even more remarkable.
It was seen by some a risky move to open the series in March, instead of saving it for the more traditional blockbuster seasons of the summer and December. But obviously those people underestimated the draw of the Games. “If a movie looks intriguing, customers will show up, no matter what the calendar reads,” BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino told The New York Times. It also proves that with Harry Potter already history, and Twilight heading towards its November finale, THG will certainly pick up the slack as the next massive movie franchise. Let the games begin! And speaking of games, don’t forget to check out our FAB Life of Panem Superfan Giveaway!
Related: 10 Things The Hunger Games Got Right
12 Things Missing From The Hunger Games Movie
The Hunger Games By The Numbers: Fun Factoids And Figures
Don’t get me wrong here, I loved The Hunger Games. But the level of my fandom is such that I couldn’t help but notice the things missing from the movie — and that noticing ranged from “Oh, that’s interesting they made that choice,” to “Oh, that’s actually probably better without X,” to “How could they?” And I’m sure I’m not alone, so take a look at this list, ranging from best omissions to worst, and then share your own. Or yell at me for daring to nitpick like this. SPOILERS GALORE!
12. The muttations’ tribute numbers and eyes. Really, as scary as it was in the book to think of a rabid dog with Rue’s eyes, there’s no way this could have looked good on film.
11. District 11 giving Katniss a loaf of bread. After Katniss places flowers on Rue’s body, she receives this humble gift from the poor district and knows they must have sacrificed a lot to afford it. It’s a subtle act of rebellion — maybe too subtle for a movie, especially without hearing Katniss’ thoughts. Instead, we get the added scene of the riot in District 11, which had me sobbing. So, good choice.
Don’t Miss Our Hunger Games Fab Life of Panem Superfan Contest!
10. Peeta’s dad delivering the cookies. I get why they eliminated Katniss’ friend Madge, since she goes nowhere as a character. But when Peeta’s dad gives her cookies and promises to look after Prim and their mom, we felt like it said a lot about District 12. And Katniss dumping the cookies from the window said even more about her conflicted state of mind with regard to Peeta.
9. Cato literally ripping his hair out after Katniss blows up the pyramid. OK, this one is from my husband, who liked this comic moment. I do wish that the scene after the explosion, along with Katniss’ hearing loss, could have been milked for a little more suspense.