New ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Movie, Based on Suzanne Collins’ Next Novel, Set for 2026

Hunger Games
©Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Co

A new “Hunger Games” prequel film will be released in theaters in 2026.

After last November’s “Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” charmed its way to $337 million at the box office, Lionsgate teased that moviegoers may not have seen the last of Panem, the dystopia where the story is set — even though the spinoff story covered the entirety of author Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel of the same name.

“The film opened an endless series of possibilities that Suzanne can go, and that [Lionsgate] can go with her,” Adam Fogelson, chairman of the studio’s motion picture group, said at the time.

To that end, Collins is writing a new book, “Sunrise on the Reaping,” to be released in 2025. The film adaptation will hit theaters on Nov. 20, 2026. Francis Lawrence, who has helmed every “Hunger Games” installment since 2012’s “Catching Fire,” is in talks to direct.

Like the forthcoming novel, “The Hunger Games: Sunrise on the Reaping” will revisit the world of Panem 24 years before the events of the “Hunger Games” saga (anchored by thee Katniss Everdeen) and four decades after “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” It will start on the morning of the reaping of the 50th Hunger Games, also known as the Second Quarter Quell — in which Haymitch Abernathy, portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the original series, competed. Haymitch Abernathy later mentors Katniss and Peeta in the 74th Hunger Games.

“Suzanne Collins is a master storyteller and our creative north star,” Fogelson said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more fortunate than to be guided and trusted by a collaborator whose talent and imagination are so consistently brilliant. The Second Quarter Quell is legendary and looms large over the history of the Games, even into the time of Katniss Everdeen a quarter-century later.”

Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien will oversee the production on behalf of the studio. Patricia Laucella and Phil Strina oversaw the rights for the book for Lionsgate.

The “Hunger Games” film franchise has generated more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office, with 2013’s “Catching Fire” as the highest-grossing with $865 million. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” didn’t live up to the original saga in terms of ticket sales, but the prequel only cost $100 million, so it managed to turn a profit and encourage the studio to move ahead with another installment.

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” took place 64 years before Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute. Tom Blyth played a young Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the tyrannical leader of Panem, while Rachel Zegler portrayed impoverished District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird, whom he mentors and develops feelings for during the 10th annual battle royale. By the end of “Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” Lucy Gray Baird’s fate remains ambiguous and Snow begins his ruthless rise to power.

From Variety US