'Hunger Games' Prequel Movie in the Works as 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'

Suzanne Collins' latest adventure in The Hunger Games universe will be adapted into a prequel movie as the bestselling author gets ready to release her The Ballad of Songbirds and Snake novel on May 19, reported The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday. The movie will be adapted for Lionsgate by director Francis Lawrence, screenwriter Michael Arndt and producer Nina Jacobson, who previously worked with the studio on four movie adaptations of Collins' previous trilogy — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and both parts of Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games prequel film tells the story of the early life of Coriolanus Snow at age 18 before he would become the oppressive President of Panem. A charming young man, Snow looks for opportunity to change his family's poor fortune when he is chosen to be a mentor for the Tenth Hunger Games, only to have his hopes dashed when assigned to mentor the girl tribute from District 12, the smallest and most impoverished in Panem.

No casting information has been announced, with Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group telling THR, "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."

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The Hunger Games original films took in a whopping $3 billion at the box office and paved the way for similar young adult dystopian book adaptations such as Maze Runner and Divergent. Collins will not only write the film's treatment, but will also serve as an executive producer of the new film. "Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book,” said Collins in a statement.

Color Force's Nina Jacobson, who produced all the films in the Hunger Games franchise, will produce the prequel film adaptation along with her partner Brad Simpson. Francis Lawrence, who directed Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2, will be directing the new adaptation. Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt will adapt the screenplay for film.