SANTA MONICA, CA -- LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, announced today that Francis Lawrence has officially signed on to direct CATCHING FIRE, the sequel to THE HUNGER GAMES, based on the second in a series of books by Suzanne Collins that has 36 million copies in circulation in the US alone. The announcement was made by Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.
Lawrence, who is represented by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment, has experience directing films that make him uniquely suited to handle the blend of character driven drama and high stakes action of CATCHING FIRE; among them are I AM LEGEND, CONSTANTINE, and WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.
"Lionsgate, the cast, and filmmakers are all thrilled to have Francis Lawrence come on board as director of Catching Fire. Suzanne's brilliant book is the intense story of the birth of the rebellion and Katniss' emotionally charged journey as she takes on the mantle of the Mockingjay, and we all think Francis is the perfect director to bring the story to life," said Erik Feig, Lionsgate's President Of Production.
"From the very beginning of this brilliant trilogy's journey from page to screen, our first priority has been to stay true to the heart and soul of Suzanne Collins' powerful stories. From my first conversation with Francis, I knew he would make a great partner for both me and Suzanne. His passion for Catching Fire and inspired ideas for a faithful adaptation make him the perfect director for this movie. I know this will be a wonderful collaboration and I cannot wait to get started," echoed producer Nina Jacobson.
Said Francis, "It is truly an honor and a privilege to bring Catching Fire, the second chapter of Suzanne's beloved trilogy, to the big screen. I fell in love with the characters, the themes and the world she created and this chapter opens all of these elements up in such a thrilling, emotional and surprising way. I can't wait to dive right into it and bring this chapter to life along with the truly superb cast and filmmakers involved."
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth will reprise their roles as Katniss, Peeta and Gale, with Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson also returning to their respective roles. The film will be produced by Jacobson's Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Production is slated to begin this Fall, and the film will be released on November 22, 2013.
THE HUNGER GAMES has broken many box office records since it opened on March 23, 2012. It achieved the highest grossing opening weekend ever for any non-sequel film and the third biggest opening weekend in box office history. It has already grossed $373 million at the North American box office, ranking in the top 20 films of all time, and it recently crossed the $600 million mark in worldwide box office.
LOS ANGELES -- Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, reports today that its ticket sales are soaring for "The Avengers," putting the movie on track to become one of Fandango's top ticket-sellers of the year. With more than 1,000 showtimes already sold out in advance of its Friday opening, "The Avengers" represents 95% of today's sales.
The superhero ensemble movie is also outperforming all previous Marvel titles, including all 'Spider-Man' movies and 'Avengers'-related films at the same point in the sales cycle. On top of that, "The Avengers" is outpacing last summer's action blockbuster, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," at the same point in that film's sales cycle.
According to a recent Fandango survey, "The Avengers" is the most anticipated film of this summer, with 66% of fans planning to see it more than once on the big screen.
"Fandango continues to report exceptionally strong online and mobile ticket sales this season," says Rick Butler, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Fandango. "As 'Avengers' fans assemble at theaters at midnight tonight and throughout the weekend, we are finding more and more moviegoers taking advantage of Fandango's many conveniences, like our mobile apps, reserved seating and mobile barcode ticketing, to guarantee their seats for the summer's biggest blockbusters."
Fans can check out the inside scoop on the film at Fandango's "Avengers' Movie Guide," featuring exclusive and extensive on-set reports and video interviews with each of the film's biggest stars including Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson - as well as detailed looks at all of the film's characters, a guide to the greatest and lamest comic book movies in Hollywood history, plus "Avengers" prize pack giveaways. To check out all that Fandango has to offer on "The Avengers," see http://www.fandango.com/theavengers/movieguide.
Heading into the summer, the busiest moviegoing season of the year, Fandango just finished its most successful first quarter in the company's nearly 12-year history. As Fandango's ticket sales surged 127% over last year, the company partnered with AMC Theatres, Regency Theatres and other chains to expand its theater network by 19%. The quarter also included Fandango's recently-signed ticketing deal with Yahoo, the launch of Fandango's enormously popular Facebook Timeline app, "Movies with Friends", and Cinemark's rollout of Fandango's paperless Mobile Ticket program, now available at 2,600 Fandango screens across the country.