LOS ANGELES - Lionsgate plans to make its next three "Hunger Games" movies an annual event every November from 2013 through 2015.
The studio announced Tuesday that it will release "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" on Nov. 21, 2014, and "Mockingjay Part 2" on Nov. 20, 2015. The company has already scheduled the second picture, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," for Nov. 22, 2013.
The news demonstrates how critical it has become for Hollywood studios to stake out the best release dates for their event movies as early as possible. "Mockingjay Part 2" now has the distinction of being scheduled the furthest into the future of any upcoming Hollywood picture, according to a release calendar supplied by Rentrak Corp.
Indeed, Lionsgate has announced the dates even before beginning production for "Catching Fire," which starts in September.
The weekend before Thanksgiving will now be Lionsgate's prime real estate for its teen-targeted book adaptations. This year it will release the final "Twilight" movie before beginning the run of "Hunger Games" films in 2013.
The first "Hunger Games" movie was released in March and went on to become a monster hit, grossing more than $400 million domestically and $273 million overseas.