Lionsgate

News Bits from the Lionsgate Q1 Call

On Friday, Lionsgate had their Fiscal 2016 Q1 Conference Call. Usually this brings at least some interesting bits, so we gave it a listen for some Hunger Games-related news.

Here it is… ALL THE BIG NEWS

buttercup

Sure the Exhibition ticket sales were good, but what about the Buttercup sales?

The Hunger Games Exhibition had record sales in the first week of open for Discovery Times Square. (Mentioning only the first week of sales sounds suspicious to us considering it’s been open for 5 weeks but anyway we like the Exhibition, so we’ll believe you when you say others are visiting en masse). The 2nd stop of the tour in San Francisco, was also mentioned.

The global Mockingjay Part 2 marketing campaign has launched with an incredible response (YES WE LIKE TO RESPOND TO THINGS) and November will have the company’s largest day and date theatrical launch in their history.

The Odyssey, which will have creative leadership from Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson, will be a multi-movie deal “in the vein of The Lord of the Rings.” This is somewhat expected, because no one just makes ONE movie these days. FRANCHISES, man. It’s what all the cool (money making) kids do.

And that was pretty much it. Slim pickings. Granted, it’s just a Q1 call, but really, THAT’S IT?

Unfortunately, that’s it.

JJ

Time for a -Revised- Trailer Countdown (3 Days!)

So about that Mockingjay Part 2 trailer on Friday, July 24th news… Today Nina  Jacobson and the Hunger Games Social Accounts messed with our heads a little by posting these announcements.

First Nina tweeted this:

3 Days? That means Thursday, right? *Counts on fingers to confirm.*

We figured she may have posted it a day early or something. No big deal.

But then came this one:

One tweet can just be a simple error, but 2? Now we’re convinced. So the trailer is coming on Thursday. One day earlier. We’re cool with that. But we have to wonder what went wrong here. Did they not think we would interpret a teaser video released on Friday that said ONE WEEK to mean it would happen next Friday? Did they just now realize that Friday (especially in the summer) is a really weird day to release a trailer? Or did they decide over the weekend to move things up because the Mexican film distributor is getting trigger happy releasing unauthorized screenshots from it?

We don’t really care which day Lionsgate releases the trailer this week, but please give us maybe a day’s notice to prepare ourselves emotionally. We think we’re gonna need that.

Come on, Thursday! (?)

JJ

The Red Mockingjay Suit of Chaos

We’ve already got a “teaser” for Mockingjay Part 2, which was trailer length but WE’RE NOT COMPLAINING. Now it’s time to prepare for the theatrical trailer!

See, we know it’s out there! Some lucky folks in Spain got to see it today as part of Cine Europe, which is an event for studio types and film distributors that’s similar to CinemaCon. There isn’t too much description out there yet, but there was ONE gem in the reports:

J-Law was like "I'll take it in RED, plzkthx." (No, not really.)

J-Law was like “I’ll take it in RED, plzkthx.” (No, not really.)

Come November, Katniss will be rocking a red Mockingjay suit!

You may be thinking back to April right now. Because in April, Funny Or Die released a gif of Jennifer Lawrence in a red Mockingjay suit talking into a banana as if it were a cell phone. We assumed nothing of the suit, only that it was a discolored imitation of the suit from the films. Hell, it’s Funny or Die! They clearly weren’t being serious!

Buuuuuuut then Lionsgate started asking that all the image be taken down pronto. From all the places. At the time, we just assumed this was Lionsgate getting antsy over their ownership of all things even kinda sorta mentioning the series and shrugged it off as silly. LO AND BEHOLD, THERE WAS A SECRET IN HERE!

Lionsgate nixed the images, so we can’t post them here, but the Internet is a vast entity where nothing ever disappears, especially if you check tumblr. Just sayin’!

Now to the big question — WHY ADD A RED MOCKINGJAY SUIT?

Artistic flair, we suppose! To give the audience something they didn’t expect and make Katniss stand out. We would assume it was used for was the execution scene if we didn’t already see that in the teaser. Maybe it’s another propo outfit designed to make her stand out more on screen. In which case, goal achieved!

To be clear, we give zero fucks about the additional of this suit. It’s actually pretty cool and not everything is always going to be straight off the page. We’ve been blessed with pretty minimal changes throughout the series and the color of an outfit in now way changes the plot. So yeesh, naysayers, calm yourselves before you pop a vein or something, ‘kay?

It’s More Of A Crimson, Anyway. The Crimsonjay!
The Girl With The Pearl

Ranting and Raving

Time keeps marching on and still no news on the Mockingjay Part 2 front. None. At all. If you’d like to hear me and some of our friends at Jabberjays.net be baffled by this, you can listen to the latest Jabbercast, “Age of Ranting.” Laugh, cry, get angry, laugh some more. It’s therapeutic.

What else? What else?

Well, tonight, Jennifer Lawrence is co-hosting the Met Gala in NYC. ($25,000 a ticket). Here she is in some fabulous Capitol Couture (er- Dior).

Jennifer looking gorgeous.

Jennifer looking gorgeous.

Elizabeth Banks was there too, being on-point with the fashion herself. Yay, more pretty pictures!

image

Yep, that’s pretty much it. 

JJ

Reserve the Right to Be Impatient

Last night at CinemaCon, Francis Lawrence gave a couple quick interviews to Collider and MTV about Mockingjay Part 2. There’s some nice tidbits about the upcoming Epilogue filming, the current cut of the film’s length, and his plans to attend the Hunger Games Exhibition opening and Comic Con.

That’s some good stuff to get fans excited for this summer. When asked about when we would see the first footage from Part 2 he said he didn’t know (because honestly he doesn’t control the timing of these releases).  He also said that fans should “practice patience” because it hasn’t been that long since Part 1 came out.

We totally understand Francis being annoyed about fans harassing him on Twitter about a trailer because as he said, while he has input into the creation of the trailer, he does not control the release of them. Or other facets of the movie’s marketing plan. So stop bugging him (and Nina) about those things, please.

But the thing about being patient for teases of the movie… sorry, but NO. NO WE DO NOT ACCEPT. WE ARE PROUDLY IMPATIENT.

i am super chillAnd we don’t think anyone involved in the movies should want us to become more patient. Listen, die-hard fans WANT news and teases of the thing they love. It’s normal. IT’S A PART OF OUR DNA AS HUGE FANS. It’s what differentiates huge fans from casual fans who just watch the movies but don’t really pay attention to trailers or other things along the way. The day we become patient is the day Lionsgate should get seriously concerned. Because casual fans show up whenever and once. We show up first and often. We talk repeatedly about what we love and drag our friends and family along. We get hyped and make it contagious.

It’s the end of April and within the context of movie marketing, we are not unreasonable to expect some things now. Stills, a new poster, a teaser trailer. Yes, these are all reasonable things to expect. The Hunger Games movies are huge – they deserve blockbuster-level hype and attention. If blockbusters such as Star Wars (opening Dec 2015) and Batman v Superman  (Opening March 2016) can release stills and teasers already, yes, we’re going to expect the same for Mockingjay Part 2 now. We see you at this level. YOU CAN DELIVER TO THIS LEVEL.

As fans, we do our part by getting excited when STUFF IS RELEASED. The day we sit patiently for it is the day we stop caring for it to come at all. Don’t play that game of chicken with us. We certainly don’t want to play.

We just want to enjoy all we can of the time that’s left.

JJ

The Fire Will Burn… Out?

Plutarch: May I speak freely?

Coin: You don’t appear to do anything else.

Plutarch: I’m only talking about salesmanship. The thing with revolutions, they’re a tender flame. They need to be nurtured with a little kindling. And warmth. A bit of oxygen. One sure way to put it out is to smother it.

We all know this exchange from Mockingjay Part 1 and it feels fitting for the state of the Hunger Games fandom. It’s depressing right now, with the desperate back and forth speculation about when a trailer will be released. Yes, 7 months out from release (and 11 months from the end of filming) it’s high time for a teaser trailer to debut. But perhaps even worse than no trailer news is THERE’S NO OTHER NEWS ABOUT PART 2.

Today's "Secret Message" word of the day. Hope it doesn't strain you too much to figure out.

Today’s “Secret Message” word of the day. Hope it doesn’t strain you too much to figure out.

The Hunger Games social media accounts seem to spend most of their energy promoting Willow Shields on Dancing With the Stars, and while we love Willow, can we all agree that this does not count as Mockingjay Part 2 promotion? Sure dress her up in a red fire dress to dance to Atlas. That’s a fun call back to THE PREVIOUS FILMS that makes us smile, but it isn’t really getting us hyped for the upcoming one.

Starting this Wednesday, a graphic has been released daily with a “secret message” for us to uncover, the first three being “THE FIRE WILL” and the fandom seems pretty assured it’s the tagline on the Mockingjay Part 2 logo poster, THE FIRE WILL BURN FOREVER.

But, will it though? Will it “burn” even through this last installment, or will our beloved franchise go out with a whimper? Last year, when we were stuck in the “no news” black hole, we speculated that it was because The Hunger Games franchise had reached “Cash Cow” status for Lionsgate and so they were going even more lean than usual on promotion. We don’t know what they spent on marketing Mockingjay Part 1, but we can all agree that from a fan perspective, it was definitely leaner.  Sure, Part 1 suffered from some “two parter” backlash and an overall weak year at the movies in 2014, but the opening weekend being down more than 20%? That means you didn’t create the same urgency from fans too.

One would think that kind of drop would indeed motivate a stronger push this year, THE FINAL YEAR. GO OUT WITH AN INFERNO! We know now that the trailers for Mockingjay Part 1 were delayed because a lot of the District 8 footage was shot at the tail end of filming in May/June. What’s the reason for the dearth of news this year? We hope it ends soon. Maybe this “secret message” will lead us to some Part 2 goodies and there will be joy again in the fandom. We are completely ready to keep the fire burning, but it’s hard to maintain excitement when we keep waiting… and then there’s nothing to feed it.

In need of some kindling, warmth, and oxygen, STAT.

JJ

Live From San Diego, It’s Comic-Con International!

Wait… Did Lionsgate actually listen to the fans orrrr….? This could be a massive coincidence, but maybe somebody– Lionsgates of all somebodies– heard our plea!

comic-con-logoSan Diego Comic-Con International, aka THE MAC DADDY OF ALL CONS, is working with Lionsgate to develop a streaming service. HALL H PANELS FOR EVERYONE! Of course, it can’t just be that simple. The streaming service for Comic-con related movies, shows, and original content will play year-round. So instead of paying a one-time fee to watch the panels on a livestream from the comfort of our couches, you have to pay monthly and hope the rest of the content is actually worth your time.

Here’s what Lionsgate’s Jim Packer has to say about the service:

“The fan base for the kind of films and television series showcased at Comic-Con has grown exponentially, and a subscription video-on-demand service is the ideal platform to capture the magic excitement of the Comic-Con experience year-round as well as the perfect vehicle for Comic-Con fans to discover new content.”

AND WE ACTUALLY AGREE.

But will this mean Lionsgate will actively focus on getting its important content featured at Comic-Con this year and in years to come?!

One of the major faux pas of the Mockingjay Part 1 campaign was not breaking away from filming for a bit to attend SDCC. Yeah, they stole the idea for some Hunger Games pastries and distributed them last year, but that didn’t do much of anything to hype people up for the film. Yes, the film’s are popular, but any good studio worth its weight knows you can’t take that for granted. Getting a Mockingjay Part 2 panel together this year will (hopefully) be easier.

Assuming the MJ2 panel makes it this year (and we feel confident it will), it works. But it’s still pretty lousy timing. The Hunger Games is LG’s major property and they’re only going to catch the tail end of it in this deal. No, we don’t count Divergent as a MAJOR property. A large one, but clearly it’s not quite as big. There will be “undisclosed other studios” involved, so hopefully some of them will have blockbuster movies and television programs to sweeten the deal.

But sadly… RIP Free versions excluding footage that will eventually make their way onto YouTube. You’ve been good to us over the years!

Think There Will Be A Free Trial?
The Girl With The Pearl

Creating a Fun-Filled Panem, in Dubai?

There were lots of funny pranks pulled throughout the fandom last week in celebration of April Fools, however there was one legit piece of news that was real, but it ALMOST sounded like a joke.  The Hunger Games Theme Park Attraction – It’s happening. In Dubai.

dubaiWhen the news came out on March 31, we knew it wasn’t a joke, because Lionsgate executives have said on multiple occasions that they were exploring opportunities to add the Hunger Games as a theme park attraction. It will be a part of a larger Hollywood theme park, Motiongate Dubai. According to the press release, it will “feature state-of-the-art theme park attractions and a retail facility inspired by … The Hunger Games franchise.” Not much in the way of details beyond that were released, other than it would be located in Dubai and another Lionsgate movie property, Step Up, will also be a part of the attractions when it opens in October 2016.

We’ve been very wary of this theme park idea all along and nothing about the announcement has changed our perspective on it. The Hunger Games costume exhibitions and the upcoming touring Exhibition starting this summer in New York have focused on showing how the books have been turned into movies. They’re basically extensions of the behind the scenes goodies of a Blu-ray, and we like that. The word “theme park attraction” invites broader world-building that could be problematic if not handled with care. So what are they going to do? Will this be some amped up version of the Samsung-sponsored Comic Con event last year, complete with Capitol Gallery and a Capitolized Peeta’s Bakery? District 12 themed rides? An arena?????

Ok, we need to stop thinking of the possibilities cause this is just getting dark and we’re probably just thinking of the worst possible scenarios. After all, remember this passage from The Hunger Games when Katniss is about to enter the arena?

Arenas

They wouldn’t do that, right? No. No, they couldn’t. THEY WOULD NOT DO THAT. True, these books/movies are just stories, so if they created an arena attraction no one would have truly died there. But it would definitely be creepy and way too “Capitol” for us to fathom.

Even if they don’t make the “attraction” an arena, placed in the context of the super-wealth of Dubai, there’s a lot of ways for this to be way too Capitol for our tastes. But then again, us three American women of Victor’s Village are clearly not the intended visitors for this attraction. I spent a week in Dubai in 2011, and while it was a fascinating experience, I’m certainly not taking that long of a journey again simply to go to a theme park when there are plenty of other places still to visit in the big, beautiful world. The Hunger Games attractions will draw in people who live closer to the geographic area, people who were planning to visit Dubai anyway for the larger theme park experience, or people visiting to gawk at the fabulous buildings and ski slope inside a mall.

We just hope they keep the story’s themes top of mind when putting this all together, otherwise it’s going to be really awkward and gross.

We really don’t want this to get awkward and gross.

JJ

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

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