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“I Don’t Care”: Hunger Games Prequel’s Record-Breaking Runtime Defended By Director-TGN


  • Director Francis Lawrence defends the long runtime of The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, prioritizing completeness over length.
  • Lawrence learned from the criticism of splitting Mockingjay into two parts and insisted on making Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes a standalone film.
  • The longer runtime of the film aligns with the trend of longer movies in theaters, with several recent releases exceeding two hours and thirty minutes.



Director Francis Lawrence defends the record-breaking runtime for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, proclaiming “I don’t care if the movie is long.” Based on the book by Suzanne Collins, the upcoming prequel film follows a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) and the events that led him to become the tyrannical president of Panem – mainly his relationship with tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes runtime is 2 hours and 37 minutes, which breaks the record for the longest film in the franchise.

In an interview with GamesRadar+, Lawrence defended the film’s long runtime ahead of the Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes release date. The director, who’s helmed the past four films in the franchise, explains that they did not want to split the prequel into two parts, as they did Mockingjay and were mocked for it. In this case, he cared less about whether the movie was too long, and more about whether it was complete. Read his full comments below:

I did not want to split them into two, we got too much heat splitting Mockingjay into two previously. So I was like, “I don’t care if this movie is long, we’re going to do one satisfying movie that has a clear beginning, middle, and an end.”

Related: “What Are The Hunger Games For?”: How Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes Will Address A Franchise Problem

Why The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Runtime Is So Long

Lawrence recently opened up about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay being split into two parts, which was heavily criticized. The director says it wasn’t his decision and even he “was not a big fan of doing it.” Lawrence learned from this experience and when it came time to make Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, he insisted it be one standalone movie. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book is also the longest novel in the Hunger Games series at 517 pages, so it makes sense the movie adaptation follows suit. See a comparison of the Hunger Games movie runtimes below:



The Hunger Games

2h 22m

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

2h 26m

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

2h 3m

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

2h 17m

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

2h 37m

Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes also comes as longer movies are having a moment in theaters. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which is the third-highest-grossing film of 2023, is three hours long, while Martin Scorsese’s latest masterpiece, Killers of the Flower Moon, is a sweeping 3 hours and 26 minutes. Franchise filmmaking is also leaning into the trend with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One being 2 hours and 43 minutes long and John Wick: Chapter 4 even longer at 2 hours and 49 minutes – both 2023 releases being longer than The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes releases in theaters on November 17.

Source: GamesRadar+

  • Ballad of Songbirds and snakes temp poster

    The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

    Release Date:

    Francis Lawrence

    Rachel Zegler, Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth

    Not Yet Rated

    Main Genre:

    Action, Adventure, Drama

    Michael Arndt, Michael Lesslie

    Based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to the original Hunger Games franchise set sixty-four years before the events of the first film/book. The story follows Coriolanus Snow before his rise to power as the cold and calculating President Snow. To escape his impoverished life and secure the tuition he needs to attend the University, Snow will partner with a tribute he is assigned to mentor and help her succeed to benefit the both of them.

    Story By:
    Suzanne Collins

    Characters By:
    Suzanne Collins

    The Hunger Games

    Jo Willems

    Nina Jacobson, Francis Lawrence, Brad Simpson

    Production Company:
    Color Force, Good Universe, Lionsgate

    Main Characters :
    Lucy Gray Baird, Tigris Snow, Lucretius ‘Lucky’ Flickerman, Sejanus Plinth, Casca Highbottom, Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Coriolanus Snow

    Sfx Supervisor:
    Claudius Rauch

    Distributor :

    Assistant Director :
    Christopher Surgent

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