Fans of the dark young-adult novel "The Hunger Games" are already licking their lips for the movie version, which will star Jennifer Lawrence and come out this March.
But they'll have to wait a fair bit longer for their next fix: Lionsgate Entertainment announced Monday morning that it was indeed dating "Catching Fire," the movie based on Suzanne Collins' second book about heroine Katniss Everdeen. But that date isn't anytime soon -- the second film in the post-apocalyptic series won't come out until Nov. 22, 2013, about 20 months after the first movie hits theaters on March 23, 2012.
The move is a departure from what conventional wisdom says about movies based on young-adult books -- namely, try not to let too much time elapse between films (so as to avoid audience and stars aging out of a franchise). Summit Entertainment brought out the second movie in "The Twilight Saga" just a year after the first, and the third film just six months after that, though it is leaving 18 months between the third and fourth movies.
In a statement, Lionsgate co-Chief Operating Officer Joe Drake didn't offer an explanation for the lag but did note that "the stories truly offer something for everyone, and the period around the Thanksgiving weekend is such an opportunity for families and friends to make an event of going to the movies.” Indeed, the studio is probably hoping that by the time the second movie rolls around it will have gained enough prominence to make it worthy of a holiday release.
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne fill out the love triangle in "The Hunger Games," which is currently in production with director Gary Ross.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times. "Catching Fire." Credit: Scholastic Books