“Hunger Games” has only just begun filming in North Carolina and already production company Lionsgate is talking about a four-film franchise. Wait, four films…? Only three books comprise the hit series by Suzanne Collins.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer recently stirred up the blogosphere when he let slip the news, perhaps inadvertently, that a fourth film had been envisioned. However, the idea would be to borrow a trick from the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight Saga“ blockbuster film franchises. Producers managed an additional installment by splitting the final book in each series into a pair of films.
Feltheimer expects to make a similar call for the “Hunger Games” films. “The property is generating tremendous buzz and excitement, and it all points to a major Lionsgate franchise in the making,” he said Wednesday.
Set in a post-apocalyptic society, the first book features teams of teenagers who compete in a brutal series of deadly games televised for a national audience. It is scheduled for release March 23, 2012.
Recent Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone” and this weekend’s “X-Men: First Class”) landed the coveted lead role. She will be joined by Liam Hemsworth (“The Last Song” with Miley Cyrus) and Josh Hutcherson (“The Kids Are All Right”) with Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland and Stanley Tucci.
“Lionsgate has covered itself by signing the cast to option deals that cover all four films,” notes Deadline.com. “By contrast, the ‘Harry Potter’ kids made set-for-life fortunes when their contracts had to be changed to add another film, and so did the ‘Twilight Saga’ stars.”
However, “Lionsgate will likely have to sweeten the cast deals if the films hit as big as everybody expects them to, but the studio will have leverage,” they write. “A fourth film will give Lionsgate brass an extra year to puff out their chests before Wall Street analysts, but enough happens in that third book that there’s a good chance that fans of the Collins trilogy will also be pleased by an extra installment.”
CLICK HERE for a “Hollywood Reporter” summary.
CLICK HERE for the Deadline.com story.