In spite of the fact that Mockingjay – Part 2 wasn’t as big a blockbuster as expected, Lionsgate is still raring to expand the franchise. Vice Chairman Michael Burns shared at the UBS Global media and Communications Conference in New York Tuesday that it will “live on,” according to Variety.
Burns specifically mentioned prequels as a possible avenue, which is in line with comments previously made by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. The studio exec said back in February that they were “actively looking at some development and thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities,” as reported by Deadline.
What’s new from Burns’ recent remarks is information about the direction of these hypothetical prequels. “If we went backwards there obviously would be arenas,” he said. He noted that fans seemed to miss the Hunger Games competitions that were featured in the first two films but absent from the third and fourth. Therefore, the studio believes that getting tributes back in the arena would be the way to go.
Exploring Hunger Games’ past is certainly feasible; after all, the competitions were a long-standing annual event before Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) ever volunteered to represent District 12. She participated in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games, giving Lionsgate several dozen earlier competitions from which it could reap inspiration — and revenue. Also ideal is the fact that Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) associated with numerous former tributes over the course of the series, so the studio is well positioned to explore one of their backstories.
Of course, there’s always the question of how long moviegoers will want to watch films in which children are constantly forced to fight one another to the death. Burns assured Variety that “the intent is not to glorify violence by arbitrarily telling arena stories,” but it remains to be seen how successfully the studio can manage that.