A prequel film to the Hunger Games series is in the early stages of development, and Lionsgate hopes to start production in the first half of 2022. Based on Suzanne Collins‘ book, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the film will be about Coriolanus Snow at 18, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem.
The news comes from Lionsgate‘s chairman Joe Drake, who notes that the film is targeted for a late 2023 or early 2024 release date, stating that pre-production is “moving along really, really well.” Additionally, Drake discusses the likely nature that the film will be theatrically released, despite the pandemic. “There’s an audience that wants to come back to theaters,” Drake affirmed. “I believe the market’s going to come back. … There’s going to be a strong, robust platform for us to monetize our movies.”
The director of the previous Hunger Games movies, Francis Lawrence, will return to direct Ballad. Casting hasn’t been announced yet, but Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson return to the franchise as producers. Collins will be on the team too, and Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine, will adapt the screenplay.
Here’s the synopsis for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.