Parts 1 and 2 of Mockingjay are now respectively scheduled for releases on November 21, 2014 and then a year later, on November 20, 2015. According to Deadline, both films will drop simultaneously across the world on those dates rather than rolling out with different international releases, as if we needed further confirmation that The Hunger Games movies are big events.
With the first sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire long ago scheduled to arrive on November 22, 2013, that means three consecutive Thanksgivings will be given over to Katniss-mania.
It's not surprising that Lionsgate is looking to follow a pattern similar to the Twilight movies. The first Collins adaptation grossed more than $678 million this year, and the annual release dates for sequels reads like an attempt to ensure that the franchise maintains commercial momentum on the chance that the series has a limited shelf-life.
The dates are a bit curious, though. Announcing a Catching Fire release date so long in advance led to a relatively rushed production schedule for the sequel, and by most accounts was a major – if not singular – motivation for director and co-writer Gary Ross to opt out of returning for future installments. The break between Catching Fire and Mockingjay will considerably shorter, from which we can infer that Lionsgate has probably locked replacement director Francis Lawrence into helming the duration of the series. Still, Lawrence is going to have haul a bit of ass on all three movies.
The sequel for the first screenplay is written by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt, with lots of input from Collins herself. Given the relatively small amount of time between each release, the studio must be looking to develop Mockingjay right in the midst of the Catching Fire production.
Just yesterday we learned that Philip Seymour Hoffman is joining the cast as Plutarch Heavensbee, and last week brought the news that Jena Malone is in talks to play Johanna Mason. These two join returning castmembers such as Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Sutherland.
So. Catching Fire on November 22, 2013, Mockingjay Part 1 on November 21, 2014, and Mockingjay Part 2 on November 20, 2015.