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Lionsgate shared the big news during a takeover of Times Square in New York City on Wednesday evening. Stars Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, and Josh Andrés Rivera made surprise appearances to celebrate the first day of ticket sales for the dystopian romance drama, which hits theaters Nov. 17. Listen to a snippet of Rodrigo's ballad, titled "Can't Catch Me Now," below.
— The Hunger Games (@TheHungerGames) November 1, 2023
The full song drops Nov. 3.
Along with a new sneak peek at the film and song, the takeover also featured a choir performance of the franchise's "The Hanging Tree," a haunting ballad from composer James Newton Howard that features more prominently in the music-heavy prequel, live from the iconic Red Steps at Father Duffy Square.
Rodrigo, a Grammy winner who burst into the zeitgeist with her hit 2021 single "drivers license," recently released her second studio album Guts, a follow-up to the acclaimed Sour, in September. Previous Hunger Games artists have included Taylor Swift ("Safe & Sound" feat. The Civil Wars), Lorde ("Everybody Wants to Rule the World"), and Coldplay ("Atlas").
Matthew Baker/Redferns Olivia Rodrigo
"From the very beginning of this franchise, we have been fortunate to attract some of the world's most talented recording artists whose music has accentuated and complemented the drama of the films while underscoring the emotional weight carried by the characters," director Francis Lawrence said in a statement. "With her highly charged lyrics and urgent voice, Olivia Rodrigo taps into all of that as much as any artist today. She's an absolute thrill to work with and we couldn't be more excited that her music is a part of the movie."
The prequel follows a teenage Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) years before his turn as tyrannical president of Panem. It's the 10th annual Hunger Games, and young Snow must mentor District 12 female tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler). Much like with Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson's Peeta Mellark, indifference soon gives way to love between the two.
Murray Close/Lionsgate Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth star as Lucy Gray Baird and young Coriolanus Snow in 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
"[Katniss'] draw to Peeta is this shared trauma," Francis Lawrence says in EW's Songbirds and Snakes cover story. "You go through an experience together and feel more understood by that person than anybody else. It's the same here." With Coriolanus and Lucy Gray, "there's this mutual need," he adds. "He needs her to win and survive so he wins. She needs him to help her win and survive so she survives." But also, it's complicated. "There's manipulation on both sides."
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters Nov. 17. Check out a snippet of Rodrigo's song above.
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