Film

Hunger Games Expansion Woes!

Lionsgate has made it pretty clear that they want to ride The Hunger Games franchise into the sun. And we get it! They have the right to… buuuuut that doesn’t always necessarily mean they should.

Possible harbinger of post-2015 THG DOOM?

Possible harbinger of post-2015 THG DOOM?

The only majorly WTF moment outside the usual memorabilia and games you’d expect in a franchise has been the expensive, “luxury” Capitol Couture clothing line and an upcoming stage show. But there have been threats of other outrageous things like a theme park and more recently, additional movies added in to the franchise.

Here’s what Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has to say:

The Hunger Games franchise wraps in November. What’s the future for Lionsgate in the YA space?

We’re always looking for ways to extend all of our intellectual property. We’ve seen that’s what happened with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. So we’re always looking for worlds within the IP that we haven’t explored yet.

So you’re saying something else in the Hunger Games world isn’t out of the question?

Not saying specifically for The Hunger Games, but we have other franchises, too. If you look at Divergent, for example, after the third book, [author Veronica Roth] actually put out a novella called Four. There may be other material there. One never knows when we dig into the treasure troves of these brilliant writers what we might find.

Like the short, but with a bigger budget!

Like the short, but with a bigger budget!

We’ve said previously that we could probably deal with a Haymitch Quarter Quell movie if it was really, really well-made. But really, that’s it. And the idea of Lionsgate working beyond that is kind of horrifying.

So we have some questions for the studio as they consider all this:

1) What does Suzanne Collins have to say about all this?

THIS IS IMPORTANT. Consider Harry Potter, because Feltheimer brought it up. Yes, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is happening. But it’s being written and produced by JK Rowling, who clearly supports the project very much and will ensure it’s true to Harry’s world. Suzanne Collins gives interviews about one every forever or so, but we’re really interested on her thoughts about Lionsgate expanding upon the intellectual property she sold to them. Would she be involved? Would she openly support this? Suzanne certainly doesn’t seem the type who would smile and nod if she didn’t like the direction in which Lionsgate is taking the franchise.

2) Where’s your source material?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them started with a companion book JK Rowling wrote, followed by a script she’s writing. The Hobbit trilogy is loosely based off JRR Tolkien’s actual Lord of the Rings prequel– just expanded to the point where a lot of fans are kinda offended. We’ve started to use the term “hobbiting” to describe unnecessary additions to popular book or movie series that clearly exist for the sake of cashing in. We say that we could handle Haymitch’s quell because there’s an outline in the books. But very little else could really be considered part of the fandom’s source material like the other two franchises.

3) Can you handle fan reaction?

If you expand a franchise and it’s not up to fan expectations, you’re in for a world of backlash. We’re not stupid and we have A LOT to say. Many people already calling out the cash ploy that is splitting both Mockingjay and Allegiant (Mockingjay, we can handle. Allegiant was going to be bad as ONE movie. Why draw out that torture?!) We hate to tell you, but if any spinoffs aren’t damn near perfect, you will face fan criticism until the end of time. The media won’t be nice to you, either. Hell, they aren’t even nice when you follow the source material!

4) Is there no other YA worth adapting in your eyes?

Okay, so massive popular YA franchises are few and far between, but let’s give up on the cash cow model for a moment. Other studios have been pretty successful in creating decent adaptations of modern YA that connects well with audiences. And there are amazing stories to be told in the modern day. Or what about some of the amazing fantasy coming out in YA? But instead you just cast Emma Roberts and Dave Franco in Nerve, which is based off a little known book, seems to be The Hunger Games + Internet, and is marketed specifically to THG fans (which we hate, btw). If you think you’re going to get the same reaction every time if you just keep playing that YA dystopian hand, YOU’RE WRONG. Switch up your game plan before you really get hurt. We say that with love!

We know your audience because we are your audience.

Trust us!
The Girl With The Pearl

Finnick (and Sam’s) Darkest Day

While Sam Claflin has been making the rounds to promote Love, Rosie, he’s left a few crumbs about Mockingjay Part 2. In particular, during a chat with Josh Horowitz of MTV, he mentioned his “worst day of filming” on the movie (around the 35 minute mark). We know what that means.

barbie finnick lizard

Sam does’t say much other than to paint a picture that it was horrible for him as an actor, and that it was just him, all alone, all day (*sobs*). So if you were holding out hope that this was not gonna happen, sorry. It’s gonna happen. The question remains, how the scene will play out.

Some readers don’t like Finnick’s death scene because it’s so quick. Three mutts attack him, bite off his head, and then he’s dead, but not before these very poetic thoughts from Katniss,

It’s as if I’m Finnick, watching the images of my life flash by. The mast of a boat, a silver parachute, Mags laughing, a pink sky, Beetee’s trident, Annie in her wedding dress, waves breaking over rocks. Then it’s over.

And it is over. The remaining crew move on with the mission. There is no time to mourn while in battle. Suzanne Collins gives Finnick, through Katniss, a final goodbye to his life, but then Katniss has to move on quickly because the perils in the Capitol don’t give her time for a breather. Granted, in these books, it’s a scenario we see time and time again in the arena deaths. I suppose it is harder for fans because they feel more connected to Finnick and they want more time spent acknowledging the loss. Will they try to translate the “life flashing before his/her eyes” moment visually in the movie or will it stay grounded in the action at hand?

Come back all year as we wonder about the death scenes of so many other characters!

I know we say this about every one of these movies but this one is going to hurt.

JJ

Number One, Times Two

It’s the Mockingjay edging out Guardians of the Galaxy by just the tip of her beaky beak beak for top 2014 domestic box office. Before Mockingjay Part 1’s release, we were expecting the movie to be #1 in 2014. But then the opening weekend was 30 million + less than Catching Fire’s, and the race to the top got a bit more dramatic. Fortunately (for this particular “race” to the top), the domestic box office overall had lower numbers than last year, so Mockingjay just had to crack over $333 million instead of 2013’s number 2 contender Iron Man 3 at $409 million. A smaller hurdle to get to the top spot, but still quite a challenge.

Fortunately for THG fans, the holiday season was good to the Mockingjay box office, and the numbers got there just in time, as the movie is almost out of most theaters (it is 2 months after release, after all). Some speculate that American Sniper, with its huge wide-release last weekend could be a challenge for the top spot (it opened in limited release in late December, so it counts as a 2014 film). Even with the Oscar buzz and the ability to attract viewers who don’t often go to the movies, it’s doubtful this R-rated movie will have the legs to get it to the top during the snowy dregs of winter, so I think you can relax. Katniss for the win, 2 years in a row, as Lionsgate reminded us.

2 years

So, other than fan bragging rights, why is this interesting or important or anything other than more money in Lionsgate’s coffers? I think these two tweets say it well.

The #1 celebratory news from Lionsgate was paired with info on the digital/Blu-Ray/DVD release, which was nice to get, cause we really do want to see the movie again, and the bonus features. But we’re also really itching to see Mockingjay Part 2’s logo poster. That would put us in even more of a celebratory mood. *HINT HINT*

Break free, Mockingjay!

JJ

The Mockingjay Part 1 DVD Dish

After a never ending string of rumors, Lionsgate has finally confirmed the Digital HD and DVD release details for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 in the US.

Of course, they did it with a bit of trolling, because no promotion for this movie has come without any trolling.

THAT DAMN HANGING TREE REMIX! Is the beat-thumping dance music actually relevant to the story or its sales? Nope, it’s just Trollsgate at work!

“Fine, you know what? We’ll confirm the dates! But we’re going to put your through PAIN as we do so! MUAHAHAHAHA!”

Still, the dates are here!

DIGITAL HD: February 17

We’ll admit, we’re still not up on the Digital HD trend. We use streaming services like On Demand and Netflix, but actually buying up our own collection of Digital HD movies to watch on various screens and devices? Naaaahhhh! It’s cheaper, but you usually just don’t get the same special feature goodness that we absolutely require.

These days it’s really tempting, though, because everything comes out on Digital HD about 2 weeks earlier. Two and a half weeks in this case! Ouch!

DVD AND BLU-RAY: MARCH 6

91q1g9j7hmL._SX385_When it was originally rumored that the DVD would be out on March 3, we figured it would actually by the 6th. Why? DVD release parties!

LG did release parties throughout the country for both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, albeit not too many for either. They cover a few of the major city areas. People in the Northeast and middle America know not to get their hopes up. But still, we get to see all the fun coverage after the fact.

We have yet to hear about the important details: THE EDITIONS!

Each will come with its own special-ness. Target tends to rock the special features selection– and we’re hoping they do again so our collection kinda matches– while Best Buy will do its steelbook thing and Wal-Mart will pull off something (hopefully not an awkward triple feature with Part 1 only, because that would be horrendous).

Want in? You can pre-order now!

This is only the beginning of the DVD news, folks! It can only get better from here!

Special Features Breakdowns Next, PLZKTHX!
The Girl With The Pearl

Diving In With Lawrence Squared

Rejoice, my friends, for Lawrence Squared LIVES ONNNNN!

Okay, that might have been a little dramatic. But we’re not sorry because we’re really psyched that Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence are teaming up for a new movie post-Hunger Games.

Ferraras and Mestre

Ferraras and Mestre

Directed by Francis and starring Jennifer, THE DIVE will tell the true story of Audrey Mestre and her husband Francisco “Pipin” Ferraras. The two competed as freedivers, diving into the depths of the ocean without a breathing apparatus. Jen is playing Audrey Mestre, who died while attempting to break her own world record of 577.7 feet when the safety equipment meant to help her return to the surface failed. The movie is also a passion project for its producer, James freakin’ Cameron.

Let’s just mention now that Fox has not officially confirmed this in a press release. However, the story was broken by The Wrap, which tends to be a reliable source, and republished by multiple entertainment outlets. We likely wouldn’t be getting a press release until after an actor is cast as Mestre’s husband.

It’s not all action like The Hunger Games, but we’re suckers for a good, strong character story. And we all know J-Law has the chops for one of those! There may also be a bit of mystery, too. Mestre and Ferraras were reportedly on the brink of divorce with the abuse allegations flying (as Mestre became a much more beloved figurehead for the sport than her husband/mentor) at the time of her death in 2002. With his jealousy being fairly well known in the community, some have accused Ferraras of disabling Mestre’s safety equipment– or at the very least, not properly ensuring its functionality– before the dive. Cameron and Ferraras seem to be friendly, however, so the story may not explore that angle.

Thanks to Jabberjays, we got sucked into this really interesting documentary about the woman who inspired it all:

We know Jennifer Lawrence can act the hell out of any role, so we’re thrilled for that. But we’re also really intrigued to see how Francis works with a piece that’s fantastical in a more definite, real world sense. The director is mainly known for solid sci-fi and fantasy worlds, but we can’t wait to see how he tackles something more intimate.

We Don’t Envy All The Constant Underwater Scenes, Though!
The Girl With The Pearl

Another Bout of Peeta Paranoia

When stuck in these dark times of no news, we sometimes get a little crazy. Look back on interviews, over-analyze, and let our minds dwell on our most anxious thoughts. That’s my explanation for a resurgence of Peeta Paranoia that I’ve been noticing over the past few days.

We’ve gotten pretty good confirmation from interviews and subtle hints that the Epilogue will be a part of Mockingjay Part 2 in some way.  We’ve heard that Jennifer has one remaining scene to film that they need to do when there are leaves on the trees and the scene may be with her nephew(s).

Here’s where the Peeta Paranoia sets in and goes something like this:

In interviews, Josh hasn’t said he will be filming any more scenes. Neither has Francis or Jennifer mentioned filming with Josh. Josh has his brown hair again and it can be difficult for him to get that perfect Peeta blond hair back.

So, the “obvious conclusion” is  PEETA WILL NOT BE IN THE EPILOGUE!!!1!!!1  I HATE LIIIIIIIFFFFE.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenI consider myself a champion worrier. I can take most situations and look at all the possible negative “what ifs” and make myself miserable. And, like most super-fans, I desperately want the ending of MJ Part 2 to be perfectly in spirit with the end of the book. And that means recognition of Katniss and Peeta healing and forging a life together.

I AM NOT WORRIED THAT PEETA WILL BE LEFT OUT OF THE ENDING.

YOU WILL NOT LEAVE PEETA OUT OF THE ENDING!

YOU WILL NOT LEAVE PEETA OUT OF THE ENDING!

Yes, the first movie screwed Peeta’s character over in terms of development, and that gives us trust issues. But think about the progression since then in Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1. Pretty good, right? And the filmmakers and Lionsgate know how we feel about Peeta. Message received – THEY KNOW. I don’t think we need to be concerned that there will be any reversion back to Hunger Games-era Peeta neglect in the final film. If anything, his story is going to get more attention as he recovers from the hijacking and rebuilds a relationship with Katniss.

Maybe they’ve already shot his Epilogue-ish scenes. Or maybe they’re just not mentioning that he’s a part of that final shoot in spring because they like to keep some secrecy. Maybe he’ll wear a wig. There are so many explanations and so little reason to worry about THIS.

If you want a different worry, it’s waaay more likely that all the other characters will get no closure in the end.

JJ

The Final, Final Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

You thought we were done with Mockingjay Part 1 trailers? Ready to see something for Part 2? Well, I guess we need to slow it down cause yesterday we saw the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital release Mockingjay Part 1 trailer thanks to the heads up from our friends at QuarterQuell.org

The theme of this trailer seems to be “Now’s the time to show them everything” because wow do we see a lot of different scenes here. Way more than in the earlier trailers (QuarterQuell.org also pointed out that this is actually the longest trailer of them all, but that doesn’t mean it’s very long either since the MJ1 pre-release trailers were shorter than usual).

So much action!

Peeta rescue action!

It feels like we see every single action scene in this trailer. It might even be too much if you’re someone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. And it may be overselling the action. We know there’s a lot of quiet moments in the movie, which we loved, and they show several of those beats as well. The predominant feel though, is ACTION. We get it, this trailer is about the hard sell to all those people who didn’t bother to head to theaters this winter. ACTION, ACTION, upset Katniss, ACTION, bruised Peeta, Emo Gale, ACTION!! BUY NOW BUT GET IT IN MARCH.

The trailer did its job though. It got us really excited to finally see the movie again. The one thing we wish they hadn’t included was that tag of “The courage of one will change the world” which we weren’t fans of before, and still think is a little too “cheesy generic hero” for the story.  This trailer will likely be the last time we see that tag though, so we’ll push that aside. We’re just really itching to see it again, just as it’s leaving theaters! Ahhh.

There’s still no confirmed release date, but it’s looking like early March is a good bet.

Soon you’ll be faced with the quandry of deciding which version to buy.

JJ

Tim Palen And The Hunger For Mockingjay Part 2 Photographs

FACT: We are a bunch of impatient crazies. AND WE KNOW IT.

Mockingjay Part 1 has only been out for just shy of two months. It doesn’t even have a confirmed DVD release date yet (in fact, it’s still in many theaters) and yet we’re sitting here, arching our eyebrow and looking toward Lionsgate as if to say “Soooo.. Got anything from Mockingjay Part 2 yet?”

Well, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to that urge!

The good news? Tim Palen, Chief Marketing Officer for Lionsgate, will soon be releasing a photography book focused solely on the series! Here are the details:

unnamed (1)

This is pretty awesome because Tim Palen is the photographer behind some of the most iconic Hunger Games franchise images out there, including all the awesome character posters. He’s been around the franchise since its beginnings and has got never-before-seen goodness, which is NEVER a bad thing!

The bad news? This will likely be our first taste of Mockingjay Part 2… and it’s not coming until JUNE 2015.

We expected to wait until at least April for the goods. Lionsgate is going to be chugging through the INSURGENT release until the end of March, after all. We can wait for one this to die down before the company worries about another.

Tim’s book will likely mark the very first peek into MJ2. The main photography is his work, so it;s likely going to be released in support of the book. Releasing his work early enough that it’s not considered “in conjunction” with the book would be super contradictory to the book’s whole purpose– TO GET OUR MONEY (and to display some lovely art). This also means the majority of MJ2 images from the book probably won’t (officially) hit the web. Because again, they want us to purchase the book. Which you can do here, if you’re interested.

unnamed

Does they mean we’re doomed to another year with no real Mockingjay media until late August? We don’t know if we can stand that pain once again! Clearly it didn’t work out so well last time, so let’s not repeat it, okay?

We Can Be Patient. Just Not THAT Patient.
The Girl With The Pearl

Homeless Peeta

Mockingjay Part 1 had some significant changes from the book. The biggest is Effie in District Thirteen, and I think we all love that.  There was another change that’s insignificant in Part 1 but raises some questions for the ending of Part 2.

The Capitol destroyed Peeta’s house!

Movie Catching Fire already changed where Peeta’s house was a little – making him live directly across from Katniss instead of “three houses away.” The closer proximity made for a more cinematic snow kiss reunion scene, so that makes sense.

It’s clear from the short scene in Mockingjay Part 1 when Katniss returns to District 12 that the houses across the way from Katniss’s home are destroyed. This is another change from the book, where “the grass has been scorched and the gray snow fell here as well, but the twelve fine houses of Victor’s Village are unscathed.”

Sorry, Peeta. In the movie you not only lose your mind and your family, but you lose your house too (on the bright side, you got to keep your leg!)

VV MJP1

As mentioned, this change has no bearing on Mockingjay Part 1, but it does raise questions about the ending of Part 2 when Peeta returns to District 12. Does he live with Haymitch first? I can’t really imagine him planting the Primroses and then saying to Katniss, “I planted them for her. Can we shack up now?” Nah, that’s got to take a little more time.

The nearly total destruction of the Victor’s Village could indicate that they’re going to make the ending stray even more from the books, but I don’t really want to wrap my mind around that possibility yet. For now, I’m just going to assume that Peeta stays with Haymitch for a while, continuing to recover, as Katniss and Peeta “grow back together” and then shack up, maybe even in a new house eventually. Because in the end, I can’t imagine Katniss and Peeta choosing to live in a house given to them by “winning” the Hunger Games if they could live anywhere else. I think they would want to start fresh in a different home as soon as they were able to get out of there.

I hope Haymitch’s oven is still working. Boy’s gotta bake.

JJ

The Hanging Tree Gets Re-Remixed

In the past, we’ve made it abundantly clear how we feel about The Hanging Tree remix. To sum it up, we think that the original remix sent out to all the pop stations is not true to the spirit of the actual song and its meaning. Also, it just sounded really tacky, cheap, and unoriginal.

hanging_tree_by_la_chapeliere_folle-d4c4h7nBut alas, the song itself has sold really well (mainly in its original version) and debuted at #12 on the Billboard charts (as compared to #82 for the soundtrack single, “Yellow Flicker Beat”). It seems that Republic Records wants to ride The Hanging Tree train alllll the way to the station.

Was the pop remix enough? OF COURSE NOT! Have you learned nothing?! To make sure they could get this song the absolute maximum exposure, we’ve also got an alternative remix now:

When we saw alternative, we got a little worried because the genre contains all manners of music and could, quite possibly, have gone off the deep end quickly. It’s basically the “et cetera” genre.

But then we listened and… it’s almost like someone out there tried listening to the fans of once! We’ve been saying that The Hanging Tree is not a hip, dance-y pop number. It’s minimalist and dark. And this remix actually makes an effort to focus on the vocals and the message with a low-key musical arrangement with haunting undertones. That plucking but that reminds us of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” makes us raise an eyebrow a little, but it’s still a major improvement.

The original will always be the best, in our opinion. It’s meant to be something powerful, sung without musical backup by a young rebel before a crowd catches on, a classic score swelling up behind their voices. Nothing is ever going to beat the movie version. But if The Hanging Tree HAD to be remixed for radio, it should have been something like this all along.

We Actually Want To Hear This Again. It’s A Miracle!
The Girl With The Pearl