SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of primetime cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning "Mad Men," "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie," along with the powerful drama "Boss" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," its spinoff "Meet the Browns," "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Are We There Yet?"
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first installment of "The Hunger Games" franchise, which has already grossed more than half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, "The Expendables," "The Lincoln Lawyer," "Cabin In The Woods," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" and "Margin Call." With the January 2012 acquisition of Summit Entertainment, the Company now has the two leading young adult franchises - the blockbuster "Twilight Saga," which has grossed more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, and "The Hunger Games." Recent Summit hits include "Red," "Letters to Juliet," "Knowing," the "Step Up" franchise and the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, "The Hurt Locker."
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
For More Information Contact:
Lionsgate – Film Division
Kate Hubin Piliero
Lionsgate – Corporate Inquiries
Peter D. Wilkes