It’s easy to see how each film in the “The Hunger Games” series could have been saddled with an R-rating. This was nearly the case for the second entry, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which was saved from the more mature label thanks to some quick-thinking and some solid intent.
During the New York premiere of “Catching Fire,” producer Nina Jacobson spoke with Vulture about how one act of violence got the film in some hot water. She explained, “We had one shot where one of our tributes is killed at the cornucopia, and we had to move where the arrow hit him, from one part to another part. It used to hit him in the face, and now it hits him in the chest. But it was really pretty minor, all things considered.” Thankfully, the alteration was not detrimental to director Francis Lawerence’s vision for the film. As Jacobson stated, “We’re never really dwelling on the gore of the games. It’s much more about the emotional effect.”
Much like its predecessor, “Catching Fire” received mixed reactions to its PG-13 rating, with some critics feeling it didn’t go far enough while others questioned how the film got away without the more restrictive rating. Regardless, it did little to harm the sequel, which went on to become the franchise’s highest-grossing entry to date with a worldwide total of over $864 million.