‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Catching Fire At San Diego Comic-Con

‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Catching Fire At San Diego Comic-Con

Jul 27, 2011

The Hunger Games PosterNews has been rather slow lately, but, just in time for San Diego Comic Con Lionsgate opted to fire things up with a brand new poster (and a motion poster at that!) Love for The Hunger Games aside, this is a really beautiful piece of promotional material. As a standard stagnant design, it’s quite stimulating, boasting rich detail. Toss in the motion and music aspects and you’ve got something that’s not just fun to look at, but a piece with the power to convey the tone of the film.

The Hunger Games at San Diego Comic Con

Funny thing, just like the concept of the Mockingjay catches on in the trilogy, it’s taking a similar course in reality. Had you not read the books, odds are you’d have no clue what this symbol means. However, those Mockingjay pins distributed at Comic-Con were one of the hottest swag items there. There were lines of people at the Lionsgate booth waiting for them on a regular basis and I’d like to bet a large majority weren’t even familiar with the source material.

That being said, even though The Hunger Games didn’t light up Hall H, it still made quite the impact on SDCC. Lionsgate really deserves some credit in general. Not only was their booth effectively designed -- with two floors and appropriate places for fans to attend signings and receive free goodies in an orderly fashion without clogging up the aisles -- but the studio was just incredibly generous, something that goes a long way at an event like this. The employees were constantly handing out Hunger Games posters and Mockingjay pins and the booth was always abuzz with signing sessions, like one with Warrior’s Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy as well as a Conan the Barbarian one with Jason Momoa. And, while the setup was constantly busy, it still always felt accessible.

The Mockingjay Pin

‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown Mockingjay Pin Giveaway

One good thing about Lionsgate's decision to pull their plans for a Hall H panel was that they focused on handing out free stuff instead. I came home from San Diego with one of those coveted Mockingjay pins to give away. So, how about it? Want to own a piece of The Hunger Games’ promo effort at SDCC 2011? All you’ve got to do is tell me what you’d like to see covered in a future edition of ‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown. Simply put your suggestion in the comments section below by Wednesday, August 3rd and I’ll pick an entry at random to win the pin. And who knows? Even if you don’t win, your suggestion could be featured in an upcoming Countdown.


Video at the Lionsgate Booth

Want a taste of what the Lionsgate booth was like? While there, I met up with TheHob.org’s Amanda Belcher and we recorded a brief video for you right in front of the location. Sure enough, the spot was swarmed as another Conan autograph session was underway, but we still managed to get a solid amount of time on the floor without being consumed by the crowd. However, the convention center floor is quite a loud place, so apologies for the low audio.

Leah WilsonInterview with The Girl Who Was on Fire editor Leah Wilson

While there, I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Leah Wilson, editor-in-chief of the Smart Pop imprint of BenBella Books, which focuses on providing in depth looks at popular TV shows, movies, comics and books. While Wilson humbly calls herself “the least interesting and least important part of this book,” giving all the credit to her contributors, without her we wouldn’t be able to continue the trilogy with The Hunger Games anthology, The Girl Who Was on Fire. Check out some of the highlights of our conversation:

Movies.com: When did you realize The Hunger Games was worthy of an anthology?

Leah Wilson: We definitely conceived the book before Mockingjay came out and we were big fans of the series in the office. We were passionate about it, we knew other people were passionate about it even though it was still a fairly small group at the time and we thought, ‘This is something that has potential to really be bigger.’ We started thinking about it and then we heard the movie announcement. It happened the same way with Twilight; Twilight was big in certain circles and then it hit the big screen and it was big everywhere.

What’s the process of putting something like this together?

I always kind of feel bad when my name shows up on a book. It’s kind of like a party planner; the whole concept is you’re there, you’re putting together a book, you invite a whole lot of people you think are cool and interesting and you hope that everybody shows up and says really cool and interesting things to each other and that you end up with a party that everyone enjoys from start to finish. This book particularly went really well. It feels like everyone had something unique and interesting to contribute and they all play off each other really well. Our contributors are all fantastic. If we could have fit 13 names on the front cover without gumming up the design, that definitely would have been my preference.

As for the movie, how are you feeling about what you’ve seen and heard so far?

I’m not a very visual reader personally, so I don’t picture the characters. It’s been a great adventure to see them cast. There’s been people that there’s been huge outcries about. It’s been really interesting to see those responses. You get a real feel for how individual readers saw the story and saw the characters just by seeing how they respond to particular actors, not just their looks, but the stereotypes associated with them, their reputation as people and as actors.

I think just seeing how it’s grown since the announcements and the fact that it extends the series, it gives people a reason to think about the books more, where otherwise, it’d be really easy to jump into the next book series, which [is] fine, but I think this is one that benefits very much from extended thinking. It’s great that this movie has given people a reason to spend more time with it.

Hunger Games Giveaways at SDCC

Do you have any concerns about the adaptation process?

I am not concerned. This is what they do; they do it much better than I would ever. [Laughs] I know my expertise, it’s moving words around on a page and helping authors say what they want to say more clearly. Filmmaking? Not at all. I think it’s going to be a different entity no matter what. For instance, with the Harry Potter films, it seems like the more successful films are the ones that have diverged. It’s a different medium. A lot of The Hunger Games series is you’re inside Katniss’ head. I’m really interested to see how they convey her character since we don’t get that running monologue.

Now that there are three movies on the way, any plans for a movie-based anthology?

I think we would definitely be looking at doing a follow-up. Actually, we have a short follow-up we’re releasing next year, just a couple of months ahead of the film, where we’re gonna add a couple more essays. We’re also going to have all of our authors give their thoughts on the movie and we’re going to deliver that, only the eBook version. The goal is to have that within a couple of days of the release beamed straight to everyone’s Kindle or Nook.

Overall Comic-Con Reception

While I commend the folks at Lionsgate for making an excellent showing sans panel, that doesn’t make up for the fact that The Hunger Games should have had one. No, a presence in Hall H won’t even come close to making or breaking this film, but seeing how many turned out for The Twilight Saga, Hunger Games undoubtedly would have had a massive audience. Plus, a prime part of this whole event is to bridge the gap between the film and the fans, which is something all of the “tributes” out there -- including myself -- would have greatly appreciated.

The Hunger Games at Comic Con

Video Extras

Before wrapping up, here’s a couple of non-Comic Con items that hit the web over the past two weeks that are must-sees. First up, we’ve got a brand new piece from Mainstay Productions, the company responsible for both “Katniss & Rue” and “Katniss & Peeta.” Like the first two videos, “The Second Quart Quell” features impressive camerawork and some stellar fight choreography. Speaking of battle scenes, want to check out the real Hunger Games tributes in action? Chris Mark (District 5), Tara Macken (District 4), Sam Ly (District 7) and Jeremy Marinas (District 10) took the battle out of the arena to make a video they call “Escape.” The description says they shot this after a night of drinking on barely any sleep, however even without the disclaimer, this short is pretty impressive. Not only does that gang have some wicked fight skills, but their cinematographer/choreographers, Mark and Marinas, have a knack for capturing them.

The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 239 days until release.

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