Nothing at San Diego Comic-Con can be done without maximum hooplah, so when a little film called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 has a new teaser trailer to debut, it’s not enough to just project it up on a screen — an entire experience is required.
At the Hard Rock Hotel, just across the street from the Center where the Con is taking place, hundreds of fans waited in the sweltering heat for their turn in The Capital Gallery at the Samsung Galaxy Experience, a co-branded mini-adventure from the electronics maker and Lionsgate Films.
Fans took a quiz to find out which district they were from.
Fans entering the room — which is constructed in the pale-white color theme favored by Panem’s fascist oligarchy — were greeted after the wait by Peeta’s Bakery, where they could order a selection of cupcakes and baked goods as elaborately composed as Elizabeth Banks’ hairdo in the film. Their appetites for cupcakes might have been slightly quashed, however, if they’d turned around and looked at the row of electronic posters celebrating each of the film’s districts, including one featuring a half-starved District 12 ragamuffin gazing in the direction of the bakery counter.
Further on in the display, fans had the chance to have their pictures taken with models dressed in the finest of Capital Couture; design a tote-bag or tank top bearing the emblem of their favorite district; pose for photos with holograms of Johanna Mason (played by Jena Malone) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson); and take a quiz to find out which district they belonged in (one woman getting her assignment expressed chagrin at having been placed in District 8, describing herself as a natural District 4 girl: “I’m a water baby”). Finally, each guest was beckoned to put on headphones and listen to an address from President Snow, urging continued support for the system — or else.
The Hunger Games hologram photo area.
After making their way through the Experience, the big event awaited. Fans were ushered upstairs into an all-white screening room, then directed to individual pods where they were handed Samsung tablets featuring the one-minute trailer. The clip opens where the last film left off, as the plane carrying Katniss away from the Games lands at a secret outpost. As a camera follows Katniss into a room full of battle-hardened refugees, the voice of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman — who plays the rebellious Plutarch Heavensbee — intones: “Listen to me. No one else can end this but her.” We then see Julianne Moore as rebellion leader Alma Coin, who looks grim, shaking her head as Hoffman continues: “The Game destroyed her. [But] she’s the face of this rebellion. They’ll follow her.” Brooding from afar, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) summons the dogs of war before Katniss pledges her loyalty to the revolution.
Outside, three Hunger Games fan-site mavens who’d travelled from around the world – Paris, London and Los Angeles – for Comic-Con expressed their approval of the Experience, and the trailer. Their only complaint about the clip? “I just wish it was longer,” said one.