If the last two years in Hollywood have taught us anything, it’s that The Hunger Games was never the absolute sure thing that, in hindsight, it seems to be. Yes, Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of books were enormous best-sellers – but so were The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and Ender’s Game. There was no guarantee that the first Hunger Games movie would dominate the box office, that passionate readers of the book would automatically accept the characters as they were depicted onscreen, and that uninitiated moviegoers wouldn’t turn up their noses at all the “Next Harry Potter” hype. The fact that all those things happened is a credit to the filmmakers, but it was hardly inevitable.
Catching Fire arrives on Blu-ray tonight at midnight, and in a special nine-part making-of documentary, the cast and crew describe the imposing challenge of bringing Katniss Everdeen and the denizens of Panem to life. “It was a scary thing that we were doing,” Jennifer Lawrence says in the doc. “It’s hard when you get great books that are so loved by people. It’s impossible not to disappoint somebody.”
Disappointed? Certainly no one at Lionsgate is. The first Hunger Games grossed $408.0 million, and Catching Fire topped that with $423.9 million. It was last year’s biggest hit in the U.S., making Lawrence the first actress to headline a year’s highest grosser since Kate Winslet and Titanic.
In the two exclusive clips below, Lawrence and company describe the pressure they felt to deliver – and the magnitude of success they never could have imagined.