It’s been eight years since the last Hunger Games movie and it turns out fans were eager to return to see more of Panem’s most brutal game show/totalitarian control mechanism. The most recent entry in the series, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of the Songbirds and the Snakes, has had an impressive box office performance so far, earning over $100 million and going strong into its third week. But with so many other big IP movies failing at the box office this year, it begs the question: Are other franchises releasing too many movies?
The most obvious offender here is Marvel, which had its own box office news in November: the wonders, the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will become the first film in the series to not exceed $100 million at the domestic box office. This is devastating news for Disney. With 33 movies in theaters, the MCU is the biggest film franchise of all time, so the company finally went into firehose mode and released as much content as possible.
Meanwhile, after its successful run of four films from 2012 to 2015, The Hunger Games basically disappeared. Sure, it was still popular and had a lot of fans, but there were no new additions to the story until series creator Suzanne Collins released a new prequel novel in 2020. The novel was an instant hit and work quickly began on the movie . adaptation, but Lionsgate had the good sense to wait for content worth adapting. And it looks like there won’t be a sequel to this movie unless Collins herself decides to return to Panem for another story.
In an interview with Polygon earlier this year, The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson explained the studio’s thinking on the series’ sequels. “You could have gone with a fan favorite… Let’s do Haymitch’s story! Or do Finnick’s games! – but that would be doing it for the sake of doing it,” Jacobson said. “Yeah [Collins] I had a story in this world with something I wanted to talk about, something to explore, so cool. But if not, it’s better to leave a franchise as something people like rather than produce a sequel for the sake of being a sequel.
And while Disney will probably never take such a measured approach with its franchises, it certainly doesn’t seem happy with its current breakneck pace. Disney CEO Bob Iger has recently been running around trying to mitigate that damage to the Marvel brand. He has spent the last few weeks talking about how Disney is going to focus on quality over quantity, and that one of the main problems with the wonders It was that executives were too busy to give the film the kind of oversight it needed. Beyond that, Iger has even said that Disney is simply creating too much Marvel content between its shows and movies.
All of this could explain why Marvel is taking off from 2024, basically. Apart from Deadpool 3, the MCU does not have any theatrical offerings scheduled for next year. It will be Marvel’s quietest year at the movies since Iron Man 2 in 2010. It also only has a few Disney Plus shows, such as Echo and Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, which are spin-offs and possibly part of Marvel’s new Spotlight program, which is meant to mark shows as unrelated to the broader MCU story. All of this should add up to the smoothest release schedule Marvel has had in over a decade.
And the incredible success of The Hunger Games suggests it might be the right play. Aside from an impressive opening weekend take of $44.6 million, it has also held on to its audience, winning its second weekend in theaters, beating out Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration film. Want.
Of course, just because Marvel doesn’t have movies in theaters doesn’t mean it will be absent from the cultural conversation. In addition to its limited calendar, the studio also has casting for the Fantastic four to announce, X-Men casting to flesh out, and maybe even a big change for their ongoing multiverse plot on the horizon. But at least we’ll have some space from the main films in 2024, which could reinvigorate some of what made the franchise special to begin with.