By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Four years after Jennifer Lawrence first appeared on the big screen as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games,” Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed fantasy action series based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book trilogy comes to a rousing resolution in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2,” when it arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack + Digital HD, DVD + Digital, and On Demand Tuesday, March 22. In addition, for the first time ever, “The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD the same day.
To kick off the release of the two home entertainment releases, an Ultimate Fan Event was held at the historic Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood March 20. On hand for the invitation-only event were “Hunger Games” stars Willow Shields, who played Katniss’ beloved younger sister Primrose throughout, Meta Golding, who played the victorious District 2 tribute Enobaria in three of the films, Stef Dawson, who played Annie Cresta, District 4 victor, in three of the films, Bruno Gunn, who played Tribute Brutus in Catching Fire” and Eugenie Bondurant, who played the intimidating-looking but helpful Tigris in the franchise’s finale.
On the red carpet, the attending cast members recalled their favorite moments from the films, how “Hunger Games” has impacted their careers, being part of the popular fantasy franchise and what’s ahead.
Grossing $647 million in worldwide box office receipts, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2,” was a monster hit when it was released last year. With a critically acclaimed cast including Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson (“Journey to the Center of the Earth”), Liam Hemsworth (“The Expendables”), Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson (“The People vs. Larry Flynt”), Emmy nominee Elizabeth Banks (TV’s “Modern Family”), Academy Award winner Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”), Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s “Angels in America”), with Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”) and Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland (“Citizen X”), “The Hunger Games” franchise is a worldwide phenomenon that has earned more than $2.9 billion at the box office worldwide.
Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who began her journey fighting to survive the brutal Hunger Games, and rose to lead the rebellion against Panem’s tyrannical president (Sutherland). In this final installment, Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the epic battle that will decide Panem’s future.
Based on the third novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, the limited edition Blu-ray release is packed with over five hours of special features, including the “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2” an eight-part documentary that takes an in-depth look at the making of the film, from production design, costumes, hair, make-up, stunts, special effects and post production.
The documentary also includes a touching piece—from the last day of shooting—in which the cast reflects on their experience shooting the four films. Also included is a detailed look at Cinna’s sketchbook and a walk through the on-set photography along with audio commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. The Blu-ray is encoded in Dolby TrueHD and features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment alive all around the audience.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2” Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.
“The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection,” available Tuesday on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, includes “The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2: with all of the special features from each film’s initial release plus hours of all-new exclusive content including 13 never-before-seen deleted scenes from “The Hunger Games” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and two all-new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” “The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $64.97 and $54.98, respectively.
Also arriving on DVD Tuesday March 22, Acorn debuts the acclaimed British thriller “Midwinter of the Spirit.” Based on the popular novel by Phil Rickman, this gripping the three-episode miniseries stars two-time BAFTA-Award winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin (“The Bletchley Circle,” “Death Comes to Pemberley”) as country vicar Merrily Watkins, an exorcist-in-training who aids the police in solving a grisly murder. BAFTA-award winner David Threlfall (“Shameless”) co-stars as sardonic, no-nonsense Reverend Huw Owen, who serves as her mentor.
Merrily contends with self-doubt in her tough new role. Her faith deeply shaken by her husband’s recent death, she also struggles to raise her teenage daughter on her own. When Merrily is called in to consult on a grisly murder investigation, the inexperienced exorcist finds herself battling supernatural terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.
The miniseries made its U.S. premiere in January on Acorn TV, the premier streaming service for world-class television from Britain and beyond. This DVD features three episodes plus a photo gallery. It is available for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $34.99. “Midwinter of the Spirit” is also available to watch anytime on Acorn.TV, the British TV-focused streaming service that features dozens of addictive dramas from across the pond and beyond.
AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season—Special Edition” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, March 22. The gritty drama, which exists in the same universe but different geography of the original “The Walking Dead” series, explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in Los Angeles, a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens, “Gone Girl”) and English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis, “Missing”) have managed to assemble. The everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful, escapist, and strung out children takes a back seat when society begins to break down. A forced evolution, a necessary survival of the fittest takes hold, and the dysfunctional family must either reinvent themselves or embrace their darker histories.
“Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season—Special Edition” features the pilot episode in widescreen as well as deleted scenes, seven featurettes, plus six commentaries on various episodes with the creators and cast of the show. The Blu-ray/Digital HD Combo Pack and the DVD are available from Anchor Bay Entertainment for the suggested retail price of $59.99 and $49.98, respectively.
The 2-disc Blu-ray + Digital HD edition has a lenticular cover. Both that and DVD sets contain new bonus features plus all six episodes of the popular first season. The series returns for Season Two on April 10 on AMC with 15 new episodes.