The anticipated Hunger Games prequel, The Ballads Of Songbirds And Snakes, has secured a SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement ahead of the film’s theatrical release on Nov. 17.
This means that the film’s actors — which include Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and Hunter Schafer — are allowed to promote the film (ex. post on social media, appear on talk shows, conduct interviews, etc.) before the premiere.
Based on Suzanne Collins’ 2019 novel of the same name, The Ballads Of Songbirds And Snakes follows a young President Coriolanus Snow before he becomes the president of Panem. The film is set 64 years before the original films that star Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. The movie is directed Francis Lawrence, who was involved in all but the first Hunger Games film.
In order for an interim agreement to be extended, producers need to maintain independence from companies affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and consent to the terms presented by the guild during its negotiation process. Because Lionsgate is not an AMPTP company, the film is eligible.
After the news was announced, Zegler expressed her appreciation to Lionsgate and SAG-AFTRA for “working so hard” to come to an agreement.
“i am so beyond thankful to @lionsgate and @sagaftra for working so hard throughout this strike to come to an agreement, allowing us to participate in press and promotion for our film, which comes to theaters on november 17,” Zegler wrote on Instagram on Oct. 30. “lionsgate’s efforts are proof that studios, big and small, can meet us in a place of fairness for their films and the people who work so hard to make them.”
The move comes as films this fall are experiencing falling ticket sales, and the lack of publicity could be a big contributing factor. Despite the decision, some actors may remain apprehensive about publicizing their respective projects amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
The actors have officially been on strike for 109 days. As of Oct. 30, the actors’ union warned that the two sides remain “far apart” on key issues. Studios said that unless a deal is reached this week, it will be “impossible for the broadcasters to salvage half a season of scripted television,” according to Variety.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s top negotiator, recently told Variety that he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the talks. “As long as we keep talking as long as we’re moving things forward, that is what needs to be happening,” he said. “There has been progress and that’s the source of my continued cautious optimism.”
As of Oct. 31, more than 100 films have obtained interim agreements by SAG-AFTRA. (Check out the full list here.) Here are a few other films that have also been granted the special agreement, below.
Priscilla (TCB Productions Canada Inc.)
The Iron Claw (House Claw LLCC)
Ferrari (Moto Pictures LLC)
Daddio (Beverly Crest Productions LLC)
Megalopolis (Caesar Film LLC)
What Happens Later (Terminal 4 LLC)
The Fabulous Four (The Fabulous Four LLC)
The Adventures Of Pinocchio (Verite Entertainment LLC)