Lionsgate has already scheduled the sequel to 2012′s The Hunger Games, before the movie has even finished shooting. The second installment in Suzanne Collins’ young adult series, Catching Fire, will be adapted for a big screen release on November 22, 2013, approximately a year and a half after the original hits theaters.
News of release date this soon is somewhat surprising, though given Lionsgate’s moves to establish this as the next big franchise, it’s a bit more expected. The annual rhythm forming seems to be patterned after the success of similar series like Harry Potter and Twilight, both game-changing hits for their respective studios. Summer 2013 is almost already full, in fact — with titles that include Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Fast and the Furious 6, and Thor 2 — so locking in that coveted pre-Thanksgiving date is entirely logical.
Meanwhile, The Playlist has learned Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is on set shooting second unit on Hunger Games, at the request of his friend and director Gary Ross. The prolific Soderbergh has said in no uncertain terms that he plans to retire soon, following the release of the already-shot films Contagion and Haywire, as well as Magic Mike on Channing Tatum’s early male stripper days and a Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and his muse, Matt Damon. Perhaps it’s just an opportunity for something new and different, or the welcome chance to keep busy while prepping his last two features.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland all star in The Hunger Games, scheduled for March 23, 2012. Here are two official images: