‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Lands SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth can officially welcome fans back to Panem.

“The Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” has received an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA, which means that stars Zegler, Blyth, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and Hunter Schafer are allowed to promote the film before it premieres in theaters on Nov. 17.

It’s not clear why the agreement was granted so close to the film’s release date. But the late-breaking boost in publicity could be a huge help in getting people to go to the movies around Thanksgiving. Amid the ongoing strike, films with famous faces — such as Sony’s comedy “Dumb Money,” with Seth Rogen, Pete Davidson and America Ferrera, and Kenneth Branagh’s whodunit “A Haunting in Venice,” led by Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey and Michelle Yeoh — have struggled at the box office without splashy red carpets or late-night talk show appearances.

So far, more than 100 films including A24’s “Priscilla” and “The Iron Claw,” as well as Michael Mann’s racing drama “Ferrari,” have obtained interim agreements amid the SAG-AFTRA strike. To get an interim agreement, producers must operate independently from companies belonging to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and agree to terms proposed by the guild in its negotiations. Since Lionsgate, which is backing “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” is not part of the AMPTP, its films are eligible.

With the interim agreement in place, the cast is expected to attend the film’s premieres in Berlin and London, as well as a fan event in Los Angeles. Beyond press opportunities, the ensemble is free to post to the heavens about the prequel on social media where Zegler, for one, has more than 1.2 million followers (and the phrase “SAG-AFTRA Strong” in her Instagram bio).

Based on Suzanne Collins’ novel, the upcoming film takes place decades before Katniss Everdeen emerged as the Girl on Fire in “The Hunger Games.” The prequel story follows 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth), who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the dystopia known as Panem. In “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” he’s chosen to be a mentor to the tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler) during the 10th Hunger Games, a televised event in which teenagers are chosen via lottery to fight to the death.


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