The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – In Theaters November 17, 2023. Starring Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis.
Experience the story of THE HUNGER GAMES — 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem. THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
During the First Rebellion with the Districts, the patriarch of the noble Snow family, General Crassus Snow, is killed in action. Ten years later, Crassus' eighteen-year-old son and heir, Coriolanus, is determined to restore the family's prosperity. As the tenth annual Hunger Games approaches, he is one of 24 mentors, each assigned an individual tribute. Due to low viewership, Games author Casca Highbottom advises the mentors to ensure they focus on their tribute entertaining the viewers rather than winning the Games.Coriolanus is assigned the District 12 female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray sparks the attention of the Capitol after singing during the reaping, as well as slipping a snake into the clothing of the mayor's daughter Mayfair. Coriolanus is determined to ensure Lucy Gray wins over the hearts of the viewers, as the mentor of the best performing tribute will be promised fortune. Coriolanus attempts to befriend Lucy Gray to earn her trust, riding in the same car as the tributes, where he is accidentally dumped into the Capitol Zoo with the tributes, and humanizing her for the cameras, winning the sympathy of the Capitol citizens.Coriolanus presents a proposal to Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul involving a sponsorship scheme, allowing Capitol viewers to donate to tribute's mentors, who can send out supplies during the Games. Coriolanus bonds with Lucy Gray, while another mentor, Arachne, is killed by her tribute after she taunts her. During a tour of the arena with others, a rebel bomb explodes, killing several mentors and tributes. Lucy Gray saves Coriolanus from collapsing debris, changing his perception of her; he gifts her some rat poison hidden in his mother's compact to make use of during the Games.During the Games, many tributes quickly die in the initial chaos. Gaul implements Coriolanus' suggestions to the games and Capitol viewership increases. Lucy Gray survives the initial onslaught by escaping through a hole torn from the rebel explosion, hiding in a service tunnel with District 12's male tribute Jessup. Coriolanus' friend Sejanus Plinth, resentful of the cruelty of the Games, sneaks into the arena and mourns alongside his fallen tribute, who was his former classmate in District Two. Coriolanus enters the arena to extract Sejanus, but they are attacked by tributes; Coriolanus is forced to kill one. The footage of the Games is altered to hide their presence.Soon after, Coriolanus realizes Gaul is going to release a tank of genetically modified snakes into the arena to speed up the Games; the snakes do not attack those with scents they are familiar. Coriolanus secretly puts his father's handkerchief that has Lucy Gray's scent into the tank. When the snakes are released into the arena, they kill all remaining tributes except for Lucy Gray; Gaul initially refuses to declare her the victor, until persuaded to do so by Capitol viewers. After the celebration, Coriolanus is confronted by Highbottom, who shows him the handkerchief and poison. As punishment for cheating, Coriolanus is forced to join the Peacekeepers on a twenty year sentence, and insists on transferring to District 12, though unaware of Lucy Gray's fate.In District 12, Coriolanus starts his Peacekeeper training. Sejanus is also forced to join for sneaking into the arena. After a man is hanged, inspiring Lucy Gray with 'The Hanging Tree' song, Coriolanus, Sejanus, and other Peacekeepers go out at night to the Hob in District 12. Coriolanus reunites with Lucy Gray after seeing her sing and they continue their relationship. Meanwhile, Coriolanus observes Sejanus talking with rebels and discovers his plan to help them escape to the north. Coriolanus uses a jabberjay to record Sejanus' proposal, sending it back to Gaul. During another night at the Hob, Coriolanus follows Sejanus, who is talking with Billy Taupe and Spruce, and they get into an altercation resulting in Coriolanus shooting Mayfair and Spruce killing Billy Taupe. They rush to hide the murder weapons, with Coriolanus reassuring Lucy Gray. Sejanus is later hanged for treason along with the other rebels; Lucy Gray tells Coriolanus to join her and escape to the north.On the way north, Coriolanus finds the hidden weapons stashed by Spruce in the cabin by the lake. When she vanishes, Coriolanus realizes Lucy Gray knows about his tip to Gaul about Sejanus, and pursues her with the rifle. He is bitten by a snake set as a trap and becomes disillusioned. Coriolanus returns to the Capitol and is offered a spot at the University courtesy of Sejanus' parents, who are unaware of his role in their son's death. Coriolanus visits Highbottom, who confesses the Games were never intended to be a reality, and were merely a drunken idea that Crassus, who was his classmate and best friend in university, stole the idea from him and made it into reality. Highbottom never forgave Crassus for this, and sees his deceitful nature in Coriolanus. Coriolanus slips rat poison into Highbottom's drug stash. Gaul trains Coriolanus to be a future Gamemaker.