It’s almost here! Yes, Friday is the release day for the Catching Fire DVD (well, in the US/Canada at least). Exciting! Now we can watch the movie any time the mood strikes us. And watch those deleted scenes and behind the scenes featurettes. If you’ve been on Tumblr in the past week, I bet you’ve seen some pretty good gifs that hint at the awesomeness of those features. But the extra feature that I’m most looking forward to with the DVD release is the audio commentary.
In my recent purchases of DVDs of movies and tv shows within the past year or two, I’ve noticed fewer audio commentary features. To my disappointment, the Hunger Games DVD had no audio commentary. Whether it’s because of logistical difficulties (the people behind these movies are really busy MAKING THE MOVIES and just don’t have time) or a perceived lack of interest by DVD distributors (they think DVD buyers just don’t care so why bother) I would like to state for the record that I LOVE AUDIO COMMENTARIES AND PLEASE ALWAYS INCLUDE THEM.
Audio commentaries give you that unique opportunity to *kind of* watch the movie with the people behind it. Depending on the individuals involved, sometimes the participants take it seriously, sometimes it’s full-on joke-a-minute silliness, and sometimes you get the impression that the participants would really rather not be doing it at all (and then it’s just awkward). Regardless, the fans get extra little nuggets of information about scenes. Funny stories. A glimpse into their personalities and motivations. It’s usually interesting stuff.
So I am very pleased that the Catching Fire DVD includes an audio commentary with Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson. Because it’s the director and producer who have clearly put their heart and soul into this project, I have full confidence that the audio commentary will be worth a listen. I can’t wait to hear what extra bits of insight they have for us. Advance request for audio commentaries from Francis and Nina for Mockingjay 1 & 2 please!
And please wrangle Jennifer, Josh, Liam, Sam (and anyone else who wants in) for an actor audio commentary AT LEAST for Mockingjay Part 2 because you know that would be comedy gold.
We told you those annual nostalgia lists might find their way here! With only a day left in 2013, we thought long and hard about the embarrassment of fandom riches that has been 2013 and compiled our top moments! Prepare to get all sentimental!
Note that this is a general fandom list, because our personal list would include things like “Suddenly becoming mute when facing the actors” and “Walking like drunk idiots at the Catching Fire after party thanks to the devil’s shoes”. Not nearly as fun, now is it? We decided not to include actor moments here either, given that there’s too many good ones to whittle it down!
First Catching Fire Trailer - We didn’t know what to expect when we heard about a Catching Fire first look at the MTV Movie Awards back in April. The Hunger Games teaser was a :23 look at one scene, after all. But it was a FULL TRAILER that really set the tone. It. was. glorious.
Julianne Moore Cast As Alma Coin - All the Mockingjay casting news has been good news, but none more thrilling than the announcement of Julianne Moore portraying President Alma Coin. She’s got the chops that will make Coin a sharp, ambiguous character. Plus, every recognized actor cast proves this is more than some teen franchise.
Peeta Gets Manned Up - Remember the big, controversial Josh Hutcherson quote in Entertainment Weekly and the fandom flip out that followed? We knew it meant that Peeta would get a bit of a do-over that put him more in line with Book!Peeta, but some others went into a panic mode. Now that we’ve all seen the movie, this is why we always tell you NOT to panic!
Global Fan Day - Press junkets and late night talk shows are fine and dandy, but on November 6, Lionsgate opened the questions up to fans via the social networks. Yes, there were still some uber fangirl “OMG I TOTES LUV U UR SO HAWT!” questions out there embarrassing us, but there was also a rarely afforded time for intelligent, fun celebrity-fan interaction.
Final Mockingjay Scene Announced - Who else freaked out when Francis casually mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence had already filmed the final scene in Mockingjay? Also, when he said that scene featured Katniss serenely hunting in the woods! Is it an extension of the book epilogue or did they cut the book epilogue all together? WE MUST KNOW!
Catching Fire Fan Camp - Three days of Hunger Games fans playing games, partying, red carpeting, watching movies, and getting visits from the people involved in the film? MAGICAL.
Catching Fire Premiere And Screenings - So many great quotes from the stars come during premieres, plus it’s basically a giant fandom lovefest! But Lionsgate also did a great thing this year in realizing that not all fans can make it to the premiere and holding 24 simultaneous red carpet livestreams and premieres in cities across the US!
Catching Fire Crushes Box Office Records - This franchise don’t mess around! Winning the single weekend box office was expected, but we also broke records for the highest grossing film in November– a popular, blockbuster-packed movie month– and had one of the highest grossing opening weekends of all time. As in EVER.
Francis Lawrence AMA Reddit - It takes a lot to make a movie, but it takes some serious guts to go on Reddit a couple days after the movie’s release and hold an “Ask Me Anything” session. Plenty of questions were along the lines of “I didn’t agree with something you did. Why did you do it?” Francis was beyond graceful and gave great answers that let us know he really thought this series through and tried everything (Many excluded book scenes were filmed but later cut for time or because they didn’t translate effectively.) It gave us a whole new respect for him!
First Look At Mockingjay Filming - A few pictures from the Mockingjay set have popped up, but nothing compares to actual fan filmed footage of Gale and Boggs busting into the Capitol set, confirming that the next movies will provide us with a deeper look into things happening outside Katniss’ POV and more action!
Looking back on this list, we know there’s still tons to look forward to in 2014.
Happy New Year!
The Girl With The Pearl
We know that the Holidays aren’t always fun and games, so we’re holding not one but TWO holiday contests to bring on the cheer!
CONTEST #1 – HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST
Gather up all your photoshopping/paint skillz to create a humorous, virtual holiday “postcard”. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert, just someone with a fantastic sense of humor!
All holiday postcards submitted will be featured on Victor’s Village. On top of that, we’re giving away an awesome prize to the creator of our favorite design!
1. BE FUNNY!
2. You can theme your holiday card after ANY winter holiday (including one you just made up, if you wish) or in just a general “Happy Holidays” format.
3. If you include photos of specific characters that have already been cast in the films, you must use the actor cast as the character! We get it: You wanted someone else to play Katniss or Peeta or Peacekeeper #56. But they’re not, so deal.
4. To keep things from getting too big and crazy, keep all holiday cards 600w x 350h or smaller!
5. All entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, December 23! The Victor’s Village staff will pick our favorites and announce the grand prize winner soon after!
- Catching Fire Fan Camp poster signed by Willow Shields
- One copy of The Panem Companion by V. Arrow
- Mellark Bakery poster by Blueleaf Creative
CONTEST #2 – DISTRICT PHOTO CONTEST
No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen glimpses of Districts! We want you to take a photo of the “district views” in your neck of the woods and let the world see how you view the districts or The Capitol!
1. The photo must be an original taken by you. Anything else will be disqualified.
2. No Photoshop! If you want to get creative, stick to the Holiday Card Contest!
3. The photo does not have to represent the District you live in, according to the books. So if you live in Europe and take a photo of something that reminds you of District 12, enter it!
4. All entries must be sent to email@example.com no later than Friday, December 27! The photos will be voted on by the viewers starting December 28. The winner will be announced December 31!
In order to score spots in the prestigious fan camp area of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire red carpet, I, along with the rest of the staff of Welcome to District 12, stayed two nights on Chick Hearn Ct. outside of the Nokia Theatre in LA Live.
Saturday started at 5:30AM, leaving early to make it to our 8:30 check in time with all of our stuff.
Our fansite friends, including fellow Victor’s Village staff members The Girl With The Pearl and Them There Eyes, arrived soon.
Good thing too since Willow Shields and Stephanie Leigh Schlund came to sign posters for fans.
There was also that Kindle Fire booth from the mall tour where we could take our pictures with Katniss.
After grabbing dinner, everyone took their camping chairs and blankets from the camping area to the square to watch the first Hunger Games movie. It was a pretty cool way to watch this movie we’ve seen so many times, considering it was a Saturday night and they were playing the movie in the midst of people heading to clubs and fancy restaurants.
The next day proved to be a big one, with even more Catching Fire people coming to sign posters for fans. We got to meet Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Hutcherson, and Francis Lawrence, who are all awesome.
Throughout the day, the KIIS FM booth ran contests and giveaways, even a scavenger hunt that cause a kid to run up to us frantically asking for a belt (we thought at first he was trying to sell us one). The day ended with a dinner with the fansite runners that was delicious and fun.
At 5 AM the next day, we were all woken up by security to pack up and vacate at 6AM so they could set up completely for the red carpet later that day. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun, and I would definitely camp again. It was great to be with the fans and to bond with others excited about The Hunger Games.
We won’t talk about the movie! We won’t talk about the movie! Won’t talk about it! Won’t! But OH MY GOODNESS, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE. Some of you are seeing it right now (!!!!!!!!) and others are on their way to the theater soon, so we’ll keep our mouths zipped until then!
So let’s talk about something awesome, but also less spoiler-y. We attended the freaking Catching Fire premiere!
The title quote came from a teenage boy we encountered while walking from our hotel to Nokia LA Live, where Catching Fire Fan Camp was held, in our Victor’s Village t-shirts. We were less than a mile away, but apparently if you’re less than a few blocks away, you’re in an interesting section of town! Who knew? However, it may have been worth it for that quote!
Without getting into too much detail (because other VV writers will later), Fan Camp was a blast! I met both Them There Eyes and Twiffidy, along with several other fansite friends, for the very first time and all of them were incredibly fun! It feels so good to geek out with others who understand what it’s all about.
And then… PREMIERE DAY!
Let’s preface this by reminding everyone that I am from Boston. The city may get referred to as “Hollywood East” thanks to all the recent filming in the area, but what happened on November 18 felt just about as far from my hometown state-of-mind as I could get.
For starters, we had our own prep team! We headed to Capella Salon in Studio City, where Tate, Brendan, and Tina, the very talented friends of Amie and Sheila from HG Girl on Fire, made us premiere ready. It was all very Capitol, which I chose to embrace it for the day and just allow myself to get girly! Mostly because it’s kind of nice to have someone mold your unruly hair into perfection and then declare it “so Hunger Games.” I HAVE MY WEAKNESSES.
This was quickly followed by that dress I begged my fashionable friend to help me shop for before leaving and my killer red heels– No seriously, when I woke up to catch my flight home on Wednesday, I was pretty certain I would being losing my right foot in the name of the Catching Fire premiere.
We were asked to take part in the Yahoo! Catching Fire livestream, which seemed really cool even though we didn’t quite know what it entailed. Turns out not having your phone on the red carpet for security purposes and not knowing exactly where to meet Lionsgate reps to go on air don’t mix well, but after half-running around a building in said killer heels, we made it into the red carpet! There’s I proceeded to do the “I don’t know what to do with my hands” dance in front of an international audience at about the 7 minute mark. The questions were mostly what I expected them to be, which is pretty simplistic as to not be spoiler-filled. It’s hard not to look like a vapid fangirl when answering those types of questions, but we pulled it off okay!
SKIPPING THE MOVIE. Because because because I have to. I’m doing this for your own good!
The after party. It was something out of this world. Them There Eyes always says “If you’re going to go Capitol, GO CAPITOL.” Well, they listened. The party took place in a giant tent with the Mockingjay symbol lit up on top. The entrance was a red carpet surrounded by timpani drummers like those used during the Tribute Parade scene. Lights shined down and danced around the room. White roses floated in massive glass columns and lined the walls in fancy bouquets. For a better visual, check out this video!
I spent most of the after party gawking alongside Arianna and Aldrin of Down With The Capitol. At one point, we realized we were a few feet away from Francis Lawrence. We wanted to thank him, but there’s this funny thing in Hollywood where almost everyone but us had no real problem interrupting his previous conversation to grab him and start a new one. We literally stood two feet from Francis for about 20 minutes before getting a chance to say something without completely interrupting a previous conversation, which could have been with studio reps, for all we know. We thanked him for the what he did with the movie (we think we will too, once you see it!) and he seemed so genuinely pleased to hear we liked it, which was brilliant.
Also stopping to have a brief chat with Francis was Alan Ritchson. To confirm all your suspicions: Yes. He is, in fact, a real life Ken doll. It’s like he’s right out of Life-Size, guys!
We caught Bruno Gunn by the bar, where he was drinking water and I was drinking liquid courage. He talked to us about loving the books and why he chooses to be so active among the fans. It comes down to this: This man really recognizes what a wonderful, unique experience this is and he wants to delve into every moment of it. He was so enthusiastic about the fan base that it kind of blew my mind. It’s not something you see everyday.
Then we saw the crowd. There were two couches forming a circle and in the middle of it all, Sam Claflin. But not just Sam! He was accompanied by Stef Dawson, who will play Annie in the Mockingjay films! For the record, Stef is so small and adorable. She looks so young that I maaaaaay have mistaken her for some rich execs’ little daughter at first. Shhhhhh! But she was just about the sweetest thing ever and now we’re even more excited to see her in Mockingjay!
It took a lot of patience, but eventually we were able to snap a photo with them and talk. Poor Sam was obviously exhausted, but he handled the social aspects like a champ: Talking about the movie, giving love to the fanbase on behalf of the whole cast and telling us how bummed he was that we couldn’t meet the other leads (who were whisked away to promotional gigs on the other side of the country almost immediately after finishing with the red carpet). He joked about not being hot enough, to which Amie calmly replied “I’m going to give you a minute to take that back.” I admitted to him that some parts of the movie had me physically shaking (a bit embarrassing, in hindsight) and he cheered “Then we did our job!”
We know that celebrities are just people, but they’re people who don’t normally talk to me. So it was really freaking cool and also surprisingly intimidating, even though they’re all really nice.
We didn’t find out until after the fact that Suzanne Collins was also in attendance. From wherever you are reading this right now, you can probably hear our hearts breaking into a thousand tiny pieces. She’s the one person we REALLY need to thank, since she inspired all this from the very beginning. We think she already knows, though.
We get jaded about the fandom sometimes, we’ll admit it! It’s not perfect, for sure, but we are so damn lucky to be a part of it. Not just because of “perks” like these, but because the fansites were able to share it all together. This fandom has so many amazing people in it. Some of them are (semi) untouchable actors, sure. But some of them are you and I.
Thanks For Always Making This Worth It,
The Girl With The Pearl
P.S. There’s a couple more after party photos under the cut!
Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch Clip
Facebook Live Event
Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence Tumblr Chat
Know what’s awesome? Global Fan Day. Know what’s not awesome? Yeah, having to work during the entirety of Global Fan Day, feeling like a jerk, taking out your phone to check on things, but then realizing your data plan won’t cover the chats, hangouts, and whatever else went on– because that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Also, I’m outside pretty much 90% of the time during my earning hours, and well, it’s raining right now, so, do the math!
I’m sure it was an awesome, fantastic, amazing good time, but little ol’ me didn’t get home until almost 9pm, and then frankly all I wanted to do was waste time on Pinterest, catch up with friends, and um– eat food finally, also put on my jammies. That’s right folks, this article was written while I was in my jammies! That’s okay, I’m sure we’ve all done it, some of us have probably even tweeted whilst naked.
Anyway, I was able to catch up on some of the happenings today, and while none of the stuff was live for me it was still enjoyable. I liked the Google Hangout, Jen was on as usual, teasing Josh like crazy, and forgetting about Liam’s most intense scenes (the whipping scene). However, it’s got to be said– there was a lot of repeating going on throughout the day, mostly because there are only so many original questions to be asked, and so many original answers that could be said– and no, that’s not a dig. However, there were still some valuable tid-bits that were revealed, like that Katniss’ bow was custom made, and worth $8,000, also that Jen nearly lost it. That parts of the film were also likely used in Jurassic Park, that the CGI monkey’s are top of the line, and that the sounds are based on Howler Monkey’s, and that Liam just seems like a very quiet, thoughtful guy. Oh, also that Josh Hutcherson needs to probably do a dance movie!
Dance movie, Josh Hutcherson, NOW!
Them There Eyes
Ah, finally. Cast interviews and press tour goings-on have started trickling onto the Internet, and it’s been worth the wait. Already, we have some fairly hilarious videos. Not that I’m complaining, but when did junket interviews start including playing games? Here are a couple revelations from what we’ve seen so far.
1) Jena Malone and Sam Claflin are the other Dream Team.
We got our first taste of this during the Fansite Roundtable interview with the two of them, but that’s not just a one time thing. They seem to have fun during their interviews together and can play off each other well. It kind of makes you expect to see that off-screen chemistry to translate to an interesting dynamic on-screen. And we know that if Jennifer and Josh are understandably busy, they can at least send Sam and Jena to keep us entertained in their stead.
2) Interview games tend to include white boards and vague rules.
Here, write your answer on this white board! Why? I don’t know, just do it.
What’s the point of having teams if everyone is just showing their answer? It doesn’t matter, just go with it, it’s fun.
3. Francis Lawrence likes to talk a lot.
And thank heaven for that! For me, I like going into movies knowing very little, but Hunger Games fans are big worriers. Just hearing Francis Lawrence acknowledge some of our favorite, small moments from the book and indicating that those little things are in the movie gives me great hope, without completely ruining it. Describing Peeta’s touching speech in District 11 gave me a lot of feelings, and it’s nice to hear finally speak about Sam and Jena make the perfect Finnick and Johanna.
Is he a pirate? Is he flirting with Josh Horowitz? Either way, it’s great to hear from him.
4. And here’s the biggest revelation of all… The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is just around the corner! With interviews coming out, that’s the sure sign that we are almost there! Can you taste it?
Reduced to watching videos on my phone during breaks at work while coworkers look at me funny
Watch out guys. In a recent interview, Francis Lawrence dropped the biggest news (to me, anyway) regarding The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that we’ve had in a while.
Will this one have better CGI?
Uh, yeah. I think the effects are phenomenal. If you know the book, there’s a monkey-mutt attack, and Weta, who did Rise of the Planet of the Apes and King Kong, did the monkeys for us.
WHOA! Hold up.
Weta refers to Weta Digital, a digital effects company co-founded by Peter Jackson, which is known for developing and utilizing ground-breaking technology and has done prestigious, award-winning visual effects work for so many movies, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, The Avengers, Avatar, Iron Man 3, King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and so many others.
Wait a second.
Are you telling me… that the monkey-mutts were done by a company who has done visual effects for movies that specifically require CGI monkeys and apes?
One criticism that was often heard among fans and non-fans alike is that The Hunger Games was a bit lacking on the visual effects side. Which, if you ask me, is all down to money. The budget for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire allows for a world-renowned visual effects company to step in and handle the CGI.
This news has made me a bit too excited about Catching Fire coming out. You know that the arena will be hidden from us for as long as Lionsgate can allow it, and I’m dying to know if my “just you wait for Catching Fire”‘s that I doled out to the skeptical masses have been proven right.
So be excited, guys! They’ll most likely not be as bad as the dog-mutts.
Did Andy Serkis mocap for the lead monkey-mutt for this too?
Yesterday we got a bevy of new promotional material for Catching Fire, Twiffidy did the honors of regaling us with her adoration for the four Entertainment Weekly covers (available at newsstands this Friday!) featuring some of our favorite Hunger Games characters, and some of our least– that all depends on your own personal taste. However, yesterday along with the amazing, stupendous, shiny, new EW cover reveals, we also got a behind the scenes featurette, which sadly isn’t even a word, but that’s not stopping people from continuing the usage of it. Any who my lovelies, the featurette was all about the amazingness known as IMAX.
Right, so if you were blissfully unaware of this already I hope it wasn’t jarring news to you, but portions of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was filmed in IMAX format. I like IMAX, it’s bigger, clearer, louder, but– it’s more often than not more expensive to buy a ticket and sit your butt down in a cinema showroom’s plush seat. Meh, I think we can deal, unless we plan on going and seeing the film a handful of times! Oh wait, we probably will! Oops. I highly recommend that many of us start budgeting for this frivolous, but totally and yes entirely necessary expensive. More on the featurette though, because it is also entirely necessary to discuss is it’s contents, just like the contents of the stomach contents of a murder victim. Well, it wasn’t very in depth, or very reveal-y, which is all good to me, I actually don’t want too much delved into in promotional material myself. Although what was revealed was the thematic and cinematic usage of the IMAX format to better enhance the depiction of the arena scenes. Erm, that means that the only portions of the film that are in IMAX format are the arena scenes. Know what I say to this? Huzzah! Me likes this choice, it’s what I hoped Francis Lawrence and his team would choose to use the IMAX format for, and the idea of its specific usage at the point in which Katniss enters the arena harkens back to a classic film from the year 1939 called The Wizard of Oz. Way back when that film was released the use of color film was brand new, and if you know anything about that film, you know that the color portion of it started the moment Dorothy entered the magical, scary, and dangerous world of Oz.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Totally.
Them There Eyes