With The Hunger Games movie raking in $152,535,747 in its opening weekend, Lionsgate Entertainment is looking to capitalize on the franchise in every way possible.
The Santa Monica, Calif., company announced today that it will break The Hunger Games: Mockingjay film into two parts. It will release each movie one year apart from the other, with part one being released on Nov. 21, 2014, and part two on Nov. 20, 2015.
It was also just recently announced that Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has joined the cast of The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, as head game maker Plutarch Heavensbee.
Hoffman will play the sly orchestrator of the 75th annual Hunger Games, replacing the previous gamemaker, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), who was killed off for allowing Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) to manipulate the previous games.
Production on the sequel is set to begin this fall, with the studio already locked into Nov. 22, 2013, as its release date. The movie is being directed by Francis Lawrence, who took over for Gary Ross this year.
The Hunger Games movie was released to critical acclaim upon its opening weekend, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times giving the film three stars out of four, praising the movie as effective entertainment, and applauding Jennifer Lawrence's performance.
As of July 8, 2012, the first installment of the series had earned $804,382,133 in North America, part of the film's worldwide total of a little more than $1 billion.
In record-setting statistics, The Hunger Games had the largest worldwide opening weekend for a movie not released during the summer or the holiday period, earning $211.8 million on its opening, which was just ahead of Alice in Wonderland's previous record ($210.1 million).