Before diving into San Diego Comic-Con 2012, unless you were in a basement without reception or happened to be flying across the globe on a plane with no Wi-Fi, you’ve heard about the big Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting updates that dropped yesterday. We’ve got Christopher Plummer’s daughter, Amanda Plummer, on board to play Wiress and supposedly Sam Claflin and Tony Shalhoub are at the top of the list for the roles of Finnick and Beetee, respectively. You can read more about that as well as how close Melissa Leo came to snagging the role of Mags and the filmmakers’ plan to lock down directors for the Mockingjay movies as soon as possible right here. Now for SDCC.
Isn’t it crazy to think about where we were this time last year? Everyone was scrambling to get ahold of a Mockingjay pin or teaser poster at the Lionsgate booth on the convention center floor. While that hasn’t really changed due to a constant influx of fans trying to get their hands on Hunger Games goodies near the booth, the film did get a Comic-Con upgrade. Alexander Ludwig (Cato), Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh), Amandla Stenberg (Rue), Jack Quaid (Marvel) and Willow Shields (Prim) all came to San Diego to meet the fans and sign some autographs.
To be honest, while watching fans line up for the signings, I was itching to jump into the masses and get one myself, but I had to be patient as I had a very special opportunity coming my way: The chance to sit down with all five cast members to discuss the film. Just the other day I posted a piece featuring Ludwig, Okeniyi, Stenberg, Quaid and Shields talking about their incredibly dedicated fans, experiences shooting The Hunger Games, top choices for the casting of Finnick and more. Today I bring you a little bonus, snippets from the interviews of the gang discussing their San Diego Comic-Con experiences and who they’d dress up as should they opt to hit the convention center in full costume. Who opted for the Hulk and Wonder Woman? The answer might surprise you …
This time last year, I had the pleasure of meeting The Hob’s Amanda in the flesh for the first time. This year, I had the pleasure of not only seeing her again at San Diego Comic-Con, but bumping into her quite a few times – and just guess where that tended to happen. Having experienced The Hunger Games at Comic-Con year one and year two, check out some of Amanda’s thoughts on the film’s presence at the event, past, present and future.
At last year’s Comic-Con, Lionsgate had a pretty good showing for The Hunger Games at their booth on the exhibit floor – images on screens and posters and Mockingjay pins for fans. And that was while they were still filming the first movie and before any clips, trailers or stills had been released. Given that, I had pretty high hopes for The Hunger Games’ presence at this year’s Comic-Con. I’m not going to lie – I’d originally had my fingers crossed for a cast member panel this year. So while I was a little disappointed that didn’t happen, Lionsgate still did a pretty great job of promoting the film at its booth.
In terms of freebies for fans, Lionsgate handed out posters for The Hunger Games Adventures Facebook game (which you could demo at the booth) and new posters for The Hunger Games DVD/Blu-ray (albeit hidden in a bundle of posters for other movies). The booth also sported some very cool columns that displayed images, played the trailer and previewed the new behind-the-scenes feature with Katniss. And, to top it off, they had a signing with five cast members at their booth! For the lucky hundreds who got to meet the cast and have them sign an exclusive DVD cover, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But even fans who weren’t lucky enough to get a wristband for the signing still had a good view of the cast members from the exhibit floor during the hour-long signings (even if it did involve getting yelled at by security to “keep moving!” past the booth). The signing was a great way to do something for fans and simultaneously gain the attention of passersby who wondered what all the excitement was about.
So, now that Comic-Con 2012 is over, I’m already thinking about the 2013 convention. My dream would be for a Catching Fire cast member panel in Hall H, which can hold 6,500 people. Catching Fire will be in postproduction by then, so Hall H would be the perfect place to unveil a sneak peek of footage from the movie or release the first (or second) trailer. This would also be a great way to introduce the film to convention attendees who aren’t yet familiar with the books or movies but are hanging out in Hall H for the day. Lionsgate has so many opportunities to show off Catching Fire next year; I’m excited just thinking about the prospects for Comic-Con 2013!
Amanda really nailed it in that last paragraph; now that SDCC 2012 has come and gone, it’s time to contemplate what we can expect next year. Of course Lionsgate needs to put some effort into their marketing campaign, but Catching Fire should be a powerhouse in and of itself. Yes, a trip to Comic-Con is geared towards building hype, but being an event that tends to attract some of the most hardcore fans out there, it’s important to respect that and make the trip and hours waiting on line well worth it.
With Catching Fire being a mere four months away from its big release, it would be a major disappointment and highly unlikely for the film not to make a Hall H appearance and not to offer up some footage from the film. And guess what comes with Hall H panels? An even bigger presence on the convention center floor, a slew of press opportunities and possibly more!
With The Twilight Saga (likely) out of Hall H for good, Hunger Games could move in as one of the hottest properties at the event, perhaps attracting loads of fans to camp out days before. Like Twilight, Iron Man 3, Game of Thrones and other properties prime for SDCC, Hunger Games is much more than a highly anticipated movie; it’s a franchise that’s not only amassed a following via source material, but it’s also one that encourages fandom. Having worked on this column for over a year now, I can tell you that is what makes The Hunger Games such a truly incredible franchise. Not the high concept, not having the hottest names in the cast, not even its box-office numbers; it’s the support and dedication of the fans to the material and to each other that makes The Hunger Games a truly communal cause and there’s no better place for something like that than at San Diego Comic-Con.
The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 491 days until the release of Catching Fire.