May 19, 2024

Slithering into a theater near you: ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered for her sister and ignited a fire in the broken country of Panem, there was another District 12 tribute who ruffled some feathers and won the hearts of the Capitol with the mentoring of a well-known (and disliked) future president. 

Fans of “The Hunger Games” franchise are looking forward to the theatrical release of the prequel to the beloved book and movie trilogy, titled “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” The movie is set to be released in theaters around the world on Nov. 17. 

Francis Lawrence, the director for 4 of The Hunger Games Franchise movies speaking at a panel

 “The Hunger Games” gained a significant amount of attention in the media with the release of the first movie adaptation in 2012, with “Catching Fire” following in 2013, “Mockingjay: Part 1” in 2014 and “Mockingjay: Part 2” in 2015. 

The three books written by Suzanne Collins, which follow the storyline of teenaged Katniss Everdeen, were released in 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. Collins released the prequel book in 2020, reigniting the 2010s fanbase. 

The movie is adapted from the book, which follows the story of a young Coriolanus Snow, who is later known by fans as the president of Panem throughout the original trilogy. It recalls his time as a mentor during the 10th annual Hunger Games for the charming District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. 

Throughout the official movie trailers, viewers can observe that Snow finds himself developing feelings for the tribute he has been assigned to mentor. This is perhaps a precursor for the tyrannical way he chooses to preside over the country decades after the games. Snow himself said in the trilogy, “It’s the things we love the most that destroy us,” afterall. 

With Snow’s less-than-shining reputation in the trilogy as the loathed president of Panem, it will be interesting to dive into his past decades before his presidency and possibly discover what exactly led to the Snow fans have come to know. The enticing title leads viewers to wonder whether Snow chooses to be a songbird or a snake, with future evidence edging towards the latter. 

The film stars renowned actors such as Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow, Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, Peter Dinklage as Dean Casca Highbottom, Hunter Schafer as Tigress, Josh Andres Rivera as Sejanus Plinth, Jason Schwartzman as Lucky Flickerman and Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, among many others. 

The film is distributed by Lionsgate, as has been consistent with a number of “The Hunger Games” movies. 

With a $100 million budget, Francis Lawrence is the director credited for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Lawrence has become an important part of the franchise as he directed the movie adaptations of book two and three of the trilogy,  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.” 

The film will have a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes and a PG-13 rating, with “strong violent content and disturbing material,” so viewer discretion is advised.


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