The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an upcoming American dystopian film directed by Francis Lawrence, based on The Hunger Games prequel of the same name and fifth installment in the The Hunger Games film series.
It is scheduled to release theatrically on November 17, 2023. The mid-November release date follows the release pattern of the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mockingjay - Part 1, and Mockingjay - Part 2.
As one of the top students of Panem's Academy, which is a school for the country's elite, Snow is selected as a mentor for Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute selected to compete in the Hunger Games for District 12, the home of Snow's future adversary Katniss Everdeen. As he trains Lucy Gray, the two grow close together, leading Snow on an unexpected rise to power as he fights to make sure Lucy Gray wins the Hunger Games at any cost.
- "As the proud home of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie."
- ―Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group
On April 21, 2020, the film release was announced as being officially in development. The film is slated to be directed by Francis Lawrence, director of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as well as both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Nina Jacobson returns as a producer for the film alongside author Suzanne Collins. The film's writer is Michael Arndt, one of two writers of Catching Fire. Regarding the announcement, chairman Joe Drake stated "Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is creatively thrilling and takes this world to complex new dimensions that open up amazing cinematic possibilities. We’re thrilled to reunite this filmmaking team with this very unique franchise, and we can’t wait to begin production."
In an exclusive interview with Discussing Film released on July 25, 2020, director Francis Lawrence reported that the script for the film was "progressing really well." He stated that after reading the story, he loved what it's about and how relevant it is.
On August 6, 2021, Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake reported that production for the film was started to begin in the first half of 2022, for a potential release in late fiscal 2023 or early 2024.
On March 9, 2022, it was revealed that the film will be shot using the working title of Butterfly.
In their presentation at CinemaCon, Lionsgate announced the release date on April 28, 2022, also featuring a teaser of the film.
On May 16, 2022, People reported that Tom Blyth had been cast in the role of Coriolanus Snow. Regarding the casting, producer Nina Jacobson stated "Tom's performance will both fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow. He's a tremendous talent who will show why Snow always lands on top." Later, on May 31, 2022, Rachel Zegler was cast in the role of Lucy Gray Baird.
A reveal teaser for the film was posted on June 5, 2022.
On June 14, 2022, the cast in the roles of tributes and mentors opposite of the leading characters were announced. It was also announced that Michael Leslie had written the latest draft of the screenplay, building on the work of Michael Arndt.
On June 21, 2022, five more characters were cast.
On June 28, 2022, the casting of six more tributes and mentors was announced.
On June 30, 2022, it was reported that Lionsgate had inked deals for the film's release in numerous international markets.
- Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow
- Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird
- Jerome Lance as Marcus
- Ashley Liao as Clemensia Dovecote
- Knox Gibson as Bobbin
- Mackenzie Lansing as Coral
- Aamer Husain as Felix Ravinstill
- Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth
- Nick Benson as Jessup Diggs
- Laurel Marsden as Mayfair Lipp
- Lilly Cooper as Arachne Crane
- Luna Steeples as Dill
- Hiroki Berrecloth as Treech
- Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow
- Jason Schwartzman as Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman
- Max Raphael as Festus Creed
- Zoe Renee as Lysistrata Vickers
- Ayomide Adegun as Pliny "Pup" Harrington
- Kaitlyn Akinpelumi as Domitia Whimsiwick
- Sofia Sanchez as Wovey
- Amélie Hoeferle as Vipsania Sickle
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 28, 2022). ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel ‘The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’ Gets 2023 Release Date – CinemaCon. Deadline. Retrieved on April 29, 2022.
- Lionsgate Planning ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Movie. Variety (June 17, 2019).
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 21, 2020). ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel ‘The Ballad of Songbirds And Snakes’ Moves Forward At Lionsgate With Series Director Francis Lawrence. Deadline. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
- Kandil, Yasmine (July 24, 2020). Francis Lawrence on the 15th Anniversary of ‘Constantine’ & ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ – Exclusive Interview. Discussing Film. Retrieved on July 26, 2020.
- Dade Hayes, Anthony D'Alessandro (August 5, 2021). ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel To Start Production In First Half Of 2022, Lionsgate Film Boss Joe Drake Says. Deadline. Retrieved on August 6, 2021.
- Lund, Anthony (March 9, 2022). Hunger Games Prequel Working Title of Butterfly Revealed as Production Ramps Up. Movieweb. Retrieved on March 10, 2022.
- Fuster, Jeremy (April 28, 2022). ‘The Hunger Games’ Prequel Gets Late 2023 Release Date at CinemaCon. The Wrap. Retrieved on April 28, 2022.
- Juneau, Jen (May 16, 2022). The Hunger Games Prequel Casts Billy the Kid's Tom Blyth as a Young President Snow. People. Retrieved on May 16, 2022.
- Romano, Nick (May 31, 2022). West Side Story breakout Rachel Zegler to star in Hunger Games prequel. Entertainment Weekly.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 14, 2022). ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’: Here’s The First Round Of Tributes & Mentors. Deadline. Retrieved on June 14, 2022.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 15, 2022). ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’: Josh Andres Rivera To Reteam With ‘West Side Story’ Star Rachel Zegler. Deadline. Retrieved on June 15, 2022.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 21, 2022). ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’: Here’s The 2nd Round Of Tributes, Mentors & More. Deadline. Retrieved on June 21, 2022.
- Kroll, Justin (June 22, 2022). ‘Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer Latest To Join ‘Hunger Games: Ballad Of The Songbirds And Snakes’. Deadline. Retrieved on June 22, 2022.
- Grobar, Matt (June 27, 2022). ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’: Jason Schwartzman Newest Addition To Lionsgate Prequel. Deadline. Retrieved on June 27, 2022.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 28, 2022). ‘Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes’: Six Join Prequel’s Growing Ensemble Of Tributes & Mentors. Deadline. Retrieved on June 28, 2022.
- Wiseman, Andreas (June 30, 2022). Lionsgate Inks Raft Of Multimillion-Dollar Pre-Sales On Movie Slate Including ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel & ‘Dirty Dancing’ Sequel. Deadline. Retrieved on June 30, 2022.