This is the 75th year of the Hunger Games … The tributes are to be reaped from the existing pool of victors. — President Snow of Panem
The stakes have never been higher for Katniss Everdeen. It seems it was only yesterday that Katniss was battling to outlast her tyrannized nation’s infamous gladiatorial competition. But now, the time is nearing once again for the annual Hunger Games. And this year it is a very special Quarter Quell anniversary edition, one that will force together the most famed of the past Victors, including Katniss, who never imagined she’d be heading back into the arena as a person changed by her experiences.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (rated PG-13 for violence and action; and with a running time of 146 min.) follows on the heels of 2012’s blockbuster cinematic success, The Hunger Games - and takes the worldwide phenomenon sparked by Suzanne Collins’ best-selling books into a new chapter that deepens the story and propels it forward. Critically acclaimed, the first film introduced audiences to the intriguing dystopian culture of Panem, where every year 12 oppressed districts send a teenage boy and girl to compete in a contest of sheer survival in the nation’s glittering Capitol. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence brought to life the story’s reluctant 16 year-old heroine, Katniss, as she persevered through impossible choices in the Hunger Games arena - revealing a passionate connection with her character.
Less than a year later, as the filmmakers returned to bring the second book of Collins’ trilogy to life on screen, they had no intention of resting on those considerable laurels. They dove into a new phase of Panem’s history and Katniss’ ever more dizzying moral dilemmas with the same faithfulness to the narrative that has guided them from the start - and a desire to go the next step.
With a story that thrusts Katniss into a second Hunger Games she never saw coming, the film took cast and crew into previously unexplored emotional and technical territory. As Katniss and her fellow Tribute, Peeta, go on a Victors’ Tour through Panem’s districts, and then are reaped for games creatively designed to be their destruction, the filmmakers saw an exciting opportunity to push the storytelling, and the characters, while staying true to what Collins set off in the global imagination.
"We wanted to be every bit as ambitious with this movie as we had been with the first, and continue to take creative risks," says returning producer Nina Jacobson. "We have tried to honor the core essence of Catching Fire in the same way that we honored The Hunger Games."
Lionsgate’s President of Production Erik Feig adds: "Catching Fire is a very different story from The Hunger Games. Katniss is thrust, literally, into a higher arena, and we see not only pressure mounting on her, but also the scope of her caring for others broadening. We saw it as a wonderful cinematic opportunity to bring her greater inner complexities and an even bigger visual scale to life."
As Panem is slowly revealed to be on a collision course with change in Catching Fire, so too does Katniss stand at the boundary of the hesitant girl she was and the young woman she will become.
"We’re very excited in this film to advance Katniss’s evolution as a character," Jacobson states. "We see her growing into somebody who is much more the master of her own destiny, as opposed to a pawn in the agendas of others. We see an ethical and social consciousness awakened in her, and yet at the same time, we also see the very human resistance that she feels to having to become a hero, when all she really wants to do in her heart is go home."
—taken from the production notes of Catching Fire, courtesy of Lionsgate Films