Lionsgate brings us back into the Hunger Games with an epic final trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but what is to become of our Mockingjay?
With every poster and every trailer released I dread sitting in the theater for the last time to watch my most beloved characters give their final performances in the last of the Hunger Games films. What Lionsgate has done with the best selling Hunger Games series has never been seen in Hollywood before, and other film franchises would be smart to take note. Jennifer Lawrence launched to mega-stardom in front of our eyes as Katniss Everdeen and in this final trailer we truly get to see just how much not just Katniss, but Jennifer, has grown throughout the series, and how far she's come to get to this very moment; confronting President Snow.
We are back in the games folks, and President Snow has laid out a map of the most terrifying traps that any arena has ever seen. No tribute is prepared to beat them, not even our Girl on Fire, and in so many moments throughout the trailer we can see the exhaustion and devastation in Katniss' eyes as she readies herself for the end. This is war, and no one is safe. Her proclamations of love for her sister, her longing looks at Peeta, are all so foreboding of the price that must be paid if the Rebels are to succeed in overthrowing the Capitol.
There is an intensity about this trailer that hasn't been felt since the very first trailer for The Hunger Games, and it is a testament to how carefully Lionsgate, director Francis Lawrence, and producer Nina Jacobson have crafted these films from its source material. In fact, these films have transcended the passionate book fan base to make more than a billion dollars worldwide, sending audiences rushing to bookstores to read the books after they watched the films, and then back to the theaters to watch each new film that continued to serve the source material and fans justice. Most of the time, novels adapted to film will either a.) Satisfy new audiences who are unfamiliar with the books enough so that they have no new desire to read them, or b.) Alienate book fans and new fans alike to the point where the books are now almost tainted by its insufficient cinematic adaptation. Well Hunger Games fans almost have as much of a loyalty to Lionsgate as they do to Katniss Everdeen herself. At San Diego Comic-Con 2015, director Francis Lawrence introduced an over two-minute full length trailer of Mockingjay Part 2 with tons of new footage to the audience. He requested that they understand he was presenting it to them with trust and gratefulness - for being such dedicated fans - and had hoped they'd not leak it. Many trailers leaked from Comic-Con and sent studios into a frenzy, but not Mockingjay. Nope, these are fans that camped out for two days and two nights to get into that Comic-Con panel. They respect the films and its masterful makers too much.
Lionsgate has mastered the art of marketing The Hunger Games films to all ages around the world, and with the Mockingjay Part 2 campaign, they have truly outdone themselves. From strategic trailer releases to secret website launches, Lionsgate situated Mockingjay Part 2 right alongside the most anticipated film in the past ten year, Star Wars Episode 7. In fact, in a recent poll, Mockingjay beat Star Wars. Whatever game Lionsgate is playing, they are winning by a landslide. Let's take a look at the marketing that catapulted The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 to box office fame.
First Official Clip: Meet Star Squad 451
The first official clip from Mockingjay Part 2 was released exclusively for fans who purchased Mockingjay Part 2 tickets on the day of release, Oct 1st. So, what was the result, then? Fans flocked online to get their tickets and see the pretty epic clip of 'Star Squad 451.' Squad 451 is Katniss' team throughout the film, including Peeta, Finnick, and Gale, and together they will face the worst the Capitol has to offer. I wasted no time getting my tickets that day - all in order to see the clip, but now the revealing clip is available for all to view, check it out below!
The Hunger Games also called on fans to join them on Dubsmash as 15 plus official sound bytes from The Hunger Games films landed on the popular lip syncing app for eager lovers of the film to record. The partnership with Dubsmash is giving UK fans a chance to win tickets to the London premiere by posting their best Hunger Games lip sync! May the best tribute win!
The Most Stunning Poster Yet: Katniss Freed
The posters from the first film to this last one are very key, they communicate a consistency but with an evolution that the fan base can easily follow. Katniss' journey has always been the most important to fans and Lionsgate has never abandoned that very important detail. Katniss' growth into the Mockingjay is documented in these film posters, and the release of this last one left the world breathless. As Mockingjay Part 2 tickets went on sale, Lionsgate gave us our most epic depiction of Katniss yet. Jennifer Lawrence is breathtaking as the Mockingjay, wings spread wide and arrow aimed; she is no longer constrained. Trailer aside, this poster alone would have gotten me to the theater alone.
Looking at the posters from the past films, it's pretty astonishing how they have covered Katniss' evolution while keeping the same consistent theme. It's the things fans' dreams are made of. From The Hunger Games, to Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Part 1, we get to see Katniss through a different lens in each new poster.
Beyond Katniss, Lionsgate also designed character posters for all the leading characters of The Hunger Games, for each separate film. For Mockingjay Part 2, the posters were released one by one via various media sites for fans to seek out like a sort of scavenger hunt. Each one features a character donning red war paint in the shape of a Mockingjay, very fitting as they prepare to enter war in the Capitol. The detail in these posters are brilliant, and really echo the theme of the film.
The characters look straight into the camera, ready for battle. A stark difference from the profile views of them from the first film (below), and if we know Lionsgate, this change was not an accident - it was an ode to the characters' journey told to the fans through photography.
Trailers: The Mockingjay's Final Battle
As I said earlier, the intensity of this final Mockingjay Part 2 trailer really mirrors that of the first trailer of the first film when Katniss fatefully volunteers for her sister. Now Katniss must fatefully volunteer for all of Panem, and bring President Snow to justice. Everything is on the line. Lionsgate has brought the film full circle, and Hollywood is watching every move with baited breath. The previous trailer for Mockinjay Part 2 has amassed over 13 million views in only a short two months, and we suspect this new one will match it before Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters in just over a month.
Now, while Lionsgate has released several trailers for Mockingjay Part 2, each one was different and each one was specific. The most recent one, 'For Prim,' chronicled Katniss' relationship with her sister Prim from the moment she volunteered in her place, to the moment she goes into battle within the Capitol for her. It reached audiences in an emotional way that past trailers never have. The trailer watches more like a music video starring Katniss and Prim, set to the sounds of alternative band M83's 'My Tears Are Becoming a Sea.' That's Lionsgate, again, taking a creative risk with promoting films and it, again, paying off. "It's the things we love the most, that destroy us..."
At San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Lionsgate released a full length, heart-pounding trailer exclusively to fans in attendance of the Mockingjay Part 2 panel, which would be The Hunger Games cast's last time in Hall H together and - speaking from experience - it was an emotional event. The trailer clocks in at 2:34 and gives us the closest look into the film yet, even teasing the infamous epilogue fans have been waiting years to see. A week later, fans all over the world could join those at Comic-Con in fanning themselves over the trailer when it was released worldwide, check it out below!
Social Media: A Fandom on Fire
If Lionsgate mastered anything in absolute full when marketing these films, it was their social media and digital presence. From the first film, when they launched TheCapitol.PN by encouraging thousands of fans to tweet around the world for their District, to Revolution.PN, which acts as the hub for the Mockingjay and the Rebels that fans can frequent to keep up to date on the Rebellion. Lionsgate has amassed over 22 million Facebook likes and 1.4 million Twitter followers through releasing exclusive content and developing campaigns that require fan participation.
The Hunger Games social media accounts go out of their way to communicate with fans, which brings a personal touch that many digital campaigns miss the point on. Lionsgate also, smartly, enlisted the social media accounts of their A-list cast members to release new content, potentially reaching new audiences with new content and extending the hold The Hunger Games has to new corners of the world. Jennifer Lawrence houses over 13 million likes on her Facebook and was the one to release the latest Mockingjay Part 2 poster of Katniss and her fiery bow and arrow.
Fans have had to tweet to unlock new trailers and websites, post videos to certain hashtags to win prizes, and more. For Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate brilliantly enlisted Snapchat to be the medium in which fans could unlock a new motion poster of Katniss in her menacing red Mockingjay suit. They teased fans on Snapchat with snaps of portions of an unreleased motion poster too, and it kept us on the edge of our seat every heart-wrenching moment. Snapchat has close to 200 million users worldwide with the exact same demographic as The Hunger Games series, so we can only imagine how many people were on the edge with us!
Unite: Fans Rebel All Over the World
The biggest "secret" to Lionsgate's Hunger Games box office success is the worldwide reach they go out of their way to make possible. They have a solid fan base within the United States, but it's the fans overseas that so many films fail to reach or include. Lionsgate would not make that mistake, and the international box office numbers have proven their efforts have not been in vain. In June, 'Unite' posters from the Rebellion featuring the three-finger salute appeared all over the world in the same location of some of the most notable landmarks. From Brazil to Finland, fans felt like they were a part of something special - and they truly were. This is the relationship that Lionsgate has built with fans that has made The Hunger Games a global phenomenon.
Since Catching Fire, Lionsgate has taken the premieres all around the world, bringing the cast along with them for a world tour. Fans from all over the globe get to be a part of an experience they have never had the chance to have before. Awesomely enough, nothing is different with Mockingjay Part 2 as a world tour was announced with the world premiere of Mockingjay Part 2 in London on November 5th. With stops in Paris, Berlin, and more to follow before ending in Los Angeles on November 16th, this is an exhaustive effort that pays off, showing that Lionsgate really wants to include everyone. At each premiere, fans are invited to fill the seats and watch the films before the rest of the world gets to, all while with the cast; a real once in a lifetime opportunity. It's almost like a "Thank you" to the fans from all over.
With the release of this latest trailer, Lionsgate has set Mockingjay Part 2 on a path to greatness. Looking back on all the past films in the series and their marketing campaigns, Lionsgate pushed the envelope even further than before with Mockingjay Part 2, and it would seem they intend to send the series off with a bang. As a fan, I am grateful for what this studio and all involved have done with the books that changed my life once upon a time ago. The films speak as deeply to me as the books did, and all the decisions they have made in presenting The Hunger Games films to the world honor that very tale. Lionsgate took a risk with the most passionate fan base around and leaped with it - and, man, did it pay off! I can't wait to see how Jennifer Lawrence brings Katniss' journey to an end.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters November 20th, 2015.
Nothing can prepare you for the end...