“The Hunger Games” won’t compete for attention in Hall H at Comic-Con International.
The Lionsgate adaptation of the Suzanne Collins bestseller joins a surprisingly long list of Hollywood sci-fi, superhero and fantasy projects that won’t be making presentations this year in Hall H, the annual showcase where stars and filmmakers woo thousands of fans with early footage and insider scoop.
Lionsgate executives say the film’s intense shooting schedule in North Carolina and cast calendar conflicts made it impossible to put together a worthy all-star panel for the movie that arrives in theaters in March and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland.
Some observers have viewed this year’s notable absentees as a sign that Hall H is losing some luster but others in Hollywood say in some ways the opposite is true — the spotlight is so intense that studios and filmmakers would rather take a pass if they don’t have enough polished footage to win over the 6,000 fans and worldwide press who watch the parade of projects like beauty pageant contestants.
For Lionsgate, the approach to Comic-Con this year is to use press interviews, off-site events, fan contests and cast appearances to promote a slate of films, among them “Conan the Barbarian,” “Abduction” and “Warrior.” For “Hunger Games,” meanwhile, the San Diego pop culture gathering will be viewed as primarily as a way to promote traffic for the film’s Facebook page and contests.
– Geoff Boucher
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