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Lionsgate Announce New Hunger Games Prequel For 2026

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The Hunger Games Sunrise on the Reaping Woody Harrelson

Image: © Lionsgate

Lionsgate has announced that a new prequel will be theatrically released in 2026.

The film, titled The Hunger Games: Sunrise on the Reaping, will be based on the upcoming novel of the same title. The fifth instalment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series is set to be released in March 2025.

The story will cover the events of Panem's 50th Hunger Games and their victor, Haymitch Abernathy. Abernathy, played by Woody Harrelson in the first four films, is the substance-abusing mentor of Katniss and Peeta.

It is currently unknown if Harrelson will reprise his role. The actor cast to play the younger version of his character is also still to be announced.

Currently, the only information regarding the events of Sunrise On The Reaping can be taken from the second novel in the series, Catching Fire (2009). The 50th games, also known as the second quarter quell, saw four tributes chosen from each district instead of the usual two. That means 48 compete in the arena that year.

Long-time franchise producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson will also be producing the new release. Deadline reports that Francis Lawrence, the director of each film in the series since Catching Fire (2013), is also in talks to return. 

The announcement follows the success of the fifth instalment in the franchise, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023). The prequel, which focuses on Coriolanus Snow's ascendancy to power, grossed $337.4 million worldwide against a budget of $100 million.

The other entries in the franchise are The Hunger Games (2012), Catching Fire, Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015). The franchise has to date made over $3.3 billion at the global box office.

The Hunger Games: Sunrise on the Reaping will be released in UK cinemas on 20th November 2026.

Words by Rachael Griffiths