In addition to being an Oscar-winning actress and the lead of a billion-dollar movie franchise in The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence can now add best-selling singer to her resume. The song “The Hanging Tree” was performed by Lawrence in Mockingjay — Part 1 and later released to radio stations where it debuted at #12 on the Hot 100, and on iTunes where it sold over 1 million copies. This are just some of the facts packed into the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies, which travels to District 13 for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay!
The Hunger Games
Lots of ‘Hunger Games’ news today for you Panemaniacs. In addition to ‘Mockingjay - Part 2’ coming out in IMAX 3D, Lionsgate also announced that the franchise may not end with the upcoming fourth film, which is due in theaters on November 20.
For the past two years, ‘The Hunger Games’ movies have topped the yearly box-office charts, beating two Marvel movies (‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’) without the help of 3D ticket sales. Well, today Lionsgate announced that ‘Mockingjay, Part 2’ will be released in IMAX and 3D, which should put it squarely in the running with ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ and ‘Avengers 2’ as the biggest movie of 2015.
As she recently told David Letterman, Jennifer Lawrence’s biggest fear is singing in public. Not death, not small, enclosed spaces, not tracker-jacker venom; singing in public. This posed a particular problem for the young star in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ because the script called for Katniss Everdeen to singing a song to her fellow rebels. And Lawrence had to actually sing it in front of the rest of the cast, a capella, with no voice double. The song, “The Hanging Tree,” is important to the movie. It becomes a rallying cry for the growing movement against the tyrannical President Snow and the rest of the Capitol. It needed to be real and heartfelt. And it needed to come from Lawrence.
The penultimate entry into the sprawling and blood-stained 'Hunger Games' franchise takes a decidedly hip and totally en vogue approach to its final two movies—splitting one (relatively slim) novel into two feature films, all the better to dive deeper into the burning revolution headed up by a reluctant Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), further explore the various districts that make up Panem, and just make piles of cash in the process. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I’ might be half a story (and our review says as much), but it's pretty remarkable that screenwriters Danny Strong and Peter Craig were able to squeeze out an entire 123-minute feature film from 187 pages of a single novel (yes, we counted).
‘Mockingjay’ is the latest example of perhaps the single most frustrating trend in modern Hollywood: The part-ification of franchise finales. It’s no longer enough to make a successful movie, or even a successful series of movies; Hollywood now extends—or dilutes, really—these cash cows even further, by breaking their concluding installments in half. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you absolutely can judge a movie by its title, at least when that title includes the phrase “Part 1.” If it does, get ready for a languid, uneventful film full of set-up and absolutely zero payoff.
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ is a movie comprised almost entirely of deleted scenes. As it says right in the title, this isn’t the final chapter of ‘The Hunger Games’ series; it’s just the first half of the final chapter, and that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s table setting for a meal that won’t be served until next November. ‘Mockingjay - Part 1’ is good-looking, well-acted, and utterly inessential.
This week, the third ‘Hunger Games’ movie, which follows the first part of the third book, will be released into theaters. It is called ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,’ which is a lot of words. But, here we are. Already, ‘The Hunger Games...
“I’ll be back,” is no longer just Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous movie quote and catchphase. It’s now his main business model. While doing a Q&A in England last weekend, Schwarzenegger announced there was another potential sequel in his future: ‘The Running Man,’ his 1987 sci-fi thriller based on a novel by Stephen King about a dark future where criminals compete for their lives on reality television (that dark future, apparently, was the year 2014).
The latest poster for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ is probably the coolest little bit of imagery we've seen for the film since much, much earlier in the marketing. We're thinking way back to those first all-white teasers with President Snow, Peeta, and Joanna, which were very off-putting and weird. There was also that exceedingly stylish poster campaign featuring heroes of the districts, which was unsettling in all its glossiness. Most of the posters and trailers we've seen since have been what we'd expect from a promotional campaign, so it's always nice to see something a little different.