The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has made a strong impression on fans. The highly anticipated prequel following the origins of Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) debuted at number one at the box office during its opening weekend, beating out the surprisingly underwhelming sophomore weekend of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first box office bomb, The Marvels. That’s certainly positive press and press that’s honestly needed following a historic industry slowdown due to the dual SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.
That being said, most already know that a number one spot at the box office doesn’t necessarily translate to a box office success. The level of success a theatrical feature film achieves is almost always entirely dependent on how much the film costs to make and to promote. Is the latest Hunger Games film on track to join the ranks of its predecessors as a box office hit? Read below for a total budget breakdown of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Remember that the full budgetary details for projects like The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes are not typically shared publicly, and much of the following is based on reported data, established net worth, etc.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) — the last hope for the once-proud Snow family — who is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12 for the 10th Hunger Games. Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will become a songbird or a snake.
- Release Date
- November 17, 2023
- Francis Lawrence
- Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Burn Gorman, Fionnula Flanagan
- 165 minutes
- Main Genre
- Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller
- Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins
- Production Company
- Color Force, Good Universe, Lionsgate
Budget for ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ By Department
Leading the cast of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as the younger version of Donald Sutherland‘s franchise villain is Tom Blyth, best known for his role in Billy the Kid. Joining Blyth is the Academy Award-nominated star of Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story, Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, who is also set to star in the titular role of Disney’s upcoming Snow White remake. Then there is Academy Award-winner Viola Davis, with the Fences actress delivering a delightfully evil performance as Dr. Volumnia Gaul. There is also Game of Thrones alumni Peter Dinklage as the depressed and alcoholic Dean Casca Highbottom. Other notable actors to consider in the higher payment bracket of the film are Josh Andrés Rivera (West Side Story) as Sejanus Plinth and Hunter Schafer (Euphoria) as Tigris Snow.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is an action film at the end of the day (though we’d also argue it’s closer to a horror movie), and as such, there are some pretty extensive special effects. Indeed, the most VFX-heavy section of the film is the second act, where the titular 10th Annual Hunger Games takes place. There, the Tributes not only battle each other, but they also have to face defective drones and bloodthirsty snakes.
While not nearly as heavy on special effects as the previous four films, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes still has enough practical and digital VFX to justify a decent-sized VFX budget.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was reportedly filmed in Germany and Poland for the exterior and interior shots of Panam’s diverse landscape. Filming on location rather than on a soundstage almost always results in a higher budget, so there is a good chance this is where the rest of the film’s budget went.
Since the franchise has remained largely dormant for almost a decade, Lionsgate really needed to get the word out that a new film in the franchise was coming with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The ball got rolling for the prequel’s marketing campaign when the first trailer was released in late August 2023, introducing audiences to the different-yet-familiar world of early Panam. Blockbuster feature films of this caliber typically have a minimum marketing budget of about $65 million, though it could also be as high as $100 million.
How Much Does ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Need to Break Even?
At a reported production budget of $100 million (making it the second least-expensive film in the series next to the original The Hunger Games at $78 million) and a likely marketing budget of $100 million, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will need to make somewhere between $165 million and $200 million to break even fully. To be considered a financial success worthy of the Plinth Prize, The Hunger Games prequel must make between $330 million and $400 million at the global box office.
How is ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Doing at the Box Office So Far?
Things are off to a strong start for this expansion of the beloved franchise, as The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has already recouped its production budget in its opening weekend. The film made over $100 million in its first weekend of release, with approximately $50 million of that coming from the United States. It’s a rock-solid starting point for another big success in the franchise, especially given how it has already beat out The Marvels for good.
It was wise for Lionsgate to get a head start on the busy Holiday season, given a packed Thanksgiving weekend coming up for theaters. This Thanksgiving, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will have stiff competition in Ridley Scott‘s historical epic Napoleon, Disney Animation’s hundredth-anniversary film Wish, and the A24 Nicolas Cage-led comedy Dream Scenario.
How Do ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Box Office Projects Compare to the Other Films in the Franchise?
Despite opening number at the box office, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes still had the lowest-grossing opening weekend in the franchise’s history, coming in just behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2‘s record of a $102 million opening weekend. Only time will tell if the latest film will continue to attract new audiences or suffer a significant box office drop. Until then, here is the current standing of the films about their budgets and box office performance:
Worldwide Box Office
The Hunger Games (2012)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbrids and Snakes (2023)
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is in theaters now. The rest of The Hunger Games series is available to stream on Peacock.
Watch on Peacock
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