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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire book to film differences

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Catching Fire

The following are noted differences between the original Catching Fire book and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film. As the novel's author Suzanne Collins was also one of the screenwriters as well as one of the film's producers, it should be inferred that all changes were approved by her. This page contains spoilers from both.

Please note: Try to organize changes by section and present them in close to chronological order.

Part One, The Spark

  • While hunting in the woods, Katniss has a PTSD flashback to killing Marvel, when she shoots a turkey in the movie.
  • In the book the train going to the districts has to stop for repairs. Effie complains about being late because of this, causing a moody Katniss to snap at her. She leaves the train to calm down. In the film the train never stops. It is Effie's innocent comment about deserving the Victory Tour that annoys Katniss. She goes to another department instead of leaving the train.
  • Katniss sees her mockingjay symbol on the wall of the inside of a tunnel in the movie.
  • New Peacekeepers are seen arriving by road vehicles instead of by train in the film.
  • In the book, Rue's family consists of her parents and five siblings, one of them resembles Rue. In the film, there is only what looks to be Rue's aunt and four siblings (one brother and three sisters).
  • After Peeta announces he would like some of his winnings to be given to the families of District 11's fallen tributes, Haymitch, Effie and Cinna's surprised reactions are shown in the movie.
  • In the book, Katniss actually sees the old man get shot for whistling Rue's whistle. In the film, Katniss is taken away by Peacekeepers when she tries to intervene; she only sees the gesture to suggest he was shot in the head, as the doors close. At the end, she sees the man being carried away by Peacekeepers through the window of the District 11 Justice Building, presumably dead.
  • In the book, while shaken, Katniss is relatively calm after the shooting. In the film, she is more hysterical (having to be restrained by multiple Peacekeepers and Haymitch), which is not helped when she sees the body of the old man being taken away.
  • Other districts show people doing the three finger salute to Katniss, and then being punished in turn.
  • President Snow's granddaughter appears in the film during some scenes at his mansion talking with her grandfather. She wasn't revealed to exist in the books until Mockingjay, and was only then mentioned.
  • At the ball, President Snow dribbles blood into his drink, hinting at the infection in his mouth. In the book, this is alluded to when Katniss notices the scent on his breath when he visits her house in the beginning.
  • Plutarch Heavensbee never shows Katniss, nor does he own, a watch with a mockingjay symbol in the film.
  • The conversations between Snow and Heavensbee reveal that it was Plutarch's idea to lock down District 12. Whether or not this occurred in the books is unknown.
  • Peacekeeper Cray is shown to be arrested upon Thread's arrival.
  • Gale doesn't attempt to sell Thread a poached turkey intended for Cray in the film.
  • In the book, after Katniss reveals the plan to run away, Gale is so happy he says that he loves her; she can only answer back, "I know," to his disappointment. In the film, his excitement over the plan is not as evident, and he outright asks her if she loves him. She does not give a response, but her reasons for not doing so are the same as the book.
  • Gale is still whipped, but for charging at Thread when he destroys the Hob and means to attack Greasy Sae.
  • In the book, when Katniss intervenes with the whipping, she is struck with a blow by the whip and receives a face injury. In the film, she is punched by the Peacekeeper (receiving a small cut), whipped once on the back and held at gunpoint before Haymitch appears.
  • Darius and Purnia do not appear, so they do not join the three victors in interfering with the whipping.
  • The Everdeen's have morphling in stock, instead of Madge bringing it.
  • Prim comes outside while Katniss is gathering snow for Gale and she says things have changed since the first Games, whereas in the book this conversation did not exist.
  • In the film, there is a scene where Snow and Plutarch watch a recording of the whipping and discuss it. This reveals that due to Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch interfering with the whipping, Snow now believes that all the victors are a problem, because they believe they are invincible. Plutarch then proposes an idea to make the Capitol still win, revealing that the idea to use the Victors in the 75th Hunger Games was his idea. In the book, however, when he rescues Katniss from the arena, he reveals that he had shown Katniss his watch to aid her in being a mentor, and that he never dreamed the Capitol would make her a tribute again, indicating that the idea was Snow's alone.
  • In the book, Katniss remembers when kissed her. In the movie we see it happen before Katniss's conversation with Snow.
  • In the book, Snow says to Katniss at the end of the conversation that he knows about the kiss. In the movie, Snow plays a recording of the kiss.

Part Two, The Quell

  • Katniss' meeting with Bonnie and Twill, citizens who have escaped from District 8, does not appear in the movie.
    • The removal of these two character was director Francis Lawrence's idea as he believed it would spoil the ending of the film and plot of Mockingjay for those who hadn't read the books.
  • Instead of finding out about the District 8 uprising at the mayor's house, Katniss sees it on the train. 
  • The Peacekeepers do not visit Katniss' home to inform her of the fence being electrically charged 24/7 and she does not get trapped behind the fence. 
  • Katniss' wedding dress photo-shoot does not occur.
    • Instead, Effie mentions that Cinna's designs for Katniss have sparked a sensation amongst the women of the Capitol, who are channeling Katniss in whatever way they can. 
  • The film does not mention the "talents" the Hunger Games victors are meant to develop.
  • When the Quarter Quell is announced, Haymitch is seen throwing a glass bottle at his TV screen in anger.
  • Katniss runs into the woods after the Quarter Quell announcement, instead of running into the basement of a Victors' Village house.
  • Peeta shows up at Haymitch's house before Katniss to talk with Haymitch about the Quell. By the time Katniss appears, it has apparently been more than half an hour since he left. Haymitch calls her on her self-absorbed moping (as it took her a while to remember Peeta and Haymitch were also involved).
  • Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch are not shown training for the Quarter Quell. 
  • Haymitch's Hunger Games is omitted from the film. This may be because it explains why Madge gave her the mockingjay pin, and Madge is seemingly non-existent in the films.
    • In the novel, Katniss realizes that Haymitch outsmarted the Gamemakers. The removal of this particular detail could also be a move on the filmmakers part to avoid spoiling the ending of the film when Katniss also outsmarted the Gamemakers and destroyed the Arena.  
  • The only costumes seen during the tribute parade are those of Finnick Odair, Katniss, Peeta, Chaff, Seeder, Johanna, and the District 10 tributes. Wiress and Beetee are not seen.
  • Seeder does not hug Katniss and assures her that the family of Rue and Thresh were not injured during the uprising in District 11 that occurred in Victory Tour. 
  • Katniss' prep team is not shown having their tearful fits in wake of the Quarter Quell announcement.
  • The fire of Katniss and Peeta costumes were disabled while they were in the elevator.
  • Johanna asks Peeta to unzip her costume in the elevator rather than doing it herself.
  • The Training Center is newly built for the Quarter Quell, while in the book they used the same Training Center complex as the year before.
    • This could be due to the fact that Catching Fire had a bigger budget than the first film and new details were incorporated for the Capitol's design.
  • Less time is spent in the Training Center.
  • In the book, Beetee and Wiress do not try to make fire by rubbing a branch against a log, but with matches. Katniss engages in conversation with them, and does not help them to make fire.
  • In the film, Katniss does not make hammocks with Cashmere and Gloss and are never described as being nice.
  • Instead of trying to wash away the painting of Rue before Katniss' individual session, it has been left alone for Katniss to see.
  • The training scores are not revealed.
  • Katniss and Peeta do not spend time together on the Training Center roof.
  • Johanna's interview with Caesar is a lot more angry and empowering than in the book, where she is said to ask if "something can't be done about the situation". She even utters (censored) profanity.
  • Instead of Finnick commenting on Katniss's dress, it is Johanna whom comments her dress in the film.
  • Haymitch congratulates Peeta about implying Katniss' pregnancy during his interview.
  • Effie tearfully says goodbye to Katniss and Peeta.

Part Three, The Enemy

  • The Cornucopia is silver and the sky is normal, while in the book the Cornucopia is gold and the sky is pink. Likewise, the Cornucopia island and its spokes were made of sand in the book; in the film they were made of volcanic rock.
  • The cannon sounds during the bloodbath as opposed to after when things calmed down.
  • Finnick and Peeta never make any references to Katniss' "baby" during the Games.
  • Peeta drowns another tribute whilst still at his podium, but in the book the only tribute to be killed by Peeta is Brutus.
  • Peeta is seen able to swim, while in the book he can't and has to be rescued by Finnick.
  • Haymitch sends a note with the parachute containing the spile - "Drink up". Katniss immediately recognizes the purpose of the spile, wherin in the book it took her a while to realize what it was. This may have been done for timing concerns, or perhaps in the film Katniss correctly guessed it's purpose given that they were thirsty and Haymitch naturally would've had a sponsor sent them that.
  • Katniss doesn't explain how she recognized the force field. Wiress and Beetee, during training, mention seeing the glitch in the force field, hence, albeit late, her warning to Peeta before striking the force field in the arena. In the book, she claims that she can hear it(although this was a lie, so she did not reveal to the Gamemakers that she knew about the weakness of the force field), while she does not explain it in the movie.
  • In the book, Finnick carries Mags on his shoulder most of the time. Only when they are running away from the poisonous fog, he carries Mags on his back. It is likely Mags merely walked at a decent pace (for her age and physical condition that is) in the film to avoid tiring Finnick unnecessarily, as she likely knew she would not be able to survive the Games and would want to hinder him, Peeta and Katniss as little as possible.
  • The fog is shown to induce rapid and painful swelling instead of necrosis as it did in the book. Considering the special effects that would've been needed for necrosis, it's possible this was done to avoid an R-rating.
  • Mags death is not as explicit as it was in the book since she walks into the fog after kissing Finnick and a cannon sounds seconds later. In the book, Mags was described as falling to the ground in a horrible dance. As above, this was likely done due to avoid an R-rating, while the fact it caused swelling instead of necrosis in the film would've caused a naturally quicker death.
  • Johanna does not mention to Katniss that Mags had been Finnick's mentor. Rather, Haymitch mentions it to Katniss and Peeta while they are in the Capitol preparing for the Games. Haymitch refers to Mags as "a nice lady."
  • Katniss shoots Gloss in the chest after he kills Wiress, but in the book she shoots him in the temple. This may have been done for realism, as Gloss was only a short distance away and she would need less time to aim at his chest and fire rather than aim at his head, although given the gory nature of a headshot this may have been done to maintain a PG-13 rating.
  • The sponsor gifts of bread did not appear in the movie.
  • When the Cornucopia starts spinning, Katniss falls into the water, whereas in the book only Beetee lost his grip on the sand.
  • The death of the man from District 10 at the hands of the "beast" is omitted from the film, and his death is never mentioned.
  • In the book when Katniss and Peeta discover Beetee's plan involve them separating, they don't fight over that part for fear it will look suspicious and the others will know they consider parting with the group. In the film, they put up a small fight, but stop when the others do indeed find their insistence suspicious.
  • Katniss carries the coil all the way down to where Johanna knocks her out, while in the book they take turns in carrying it.
  • In the book Chaff is killed on Day 3 by Brutus, whereas in the film, he is killed on Day 2.
  • Enobaria and Brutus don't run by Katniss when she was knocked out by Johanna.
  • There are a number of changes during that free-for-all after the wire snaps in the film: Peeta does not scream for Katniss after she finds Beetee, the person she confronts at the very end is Finnick and not Enobaria like in the book and it is never mentioned that Peeta kills Brutus.
  • When Katniss wakes up on the hovercraft after she destroys the forcefield, she knocks herself out by smacking her head, but in the film she just stands up.
  • Haymitch states that only Peeta and Johanna were taken by the Capitol, he never mentions Enobaria. Her fate is unknown. While it is likely that Enobaria had been taken by the Capitol, it is also possible that she was killed in the arena. Given Enobaria only joined the rebellion after the 75th Hunger Games in the books, it is likely Haymitch may have simply viewed her death and/or survival as inconsequential.
  • In the books, when Katniss attacks Haymitch, she's described as scratching his face. In the film she only slaps and berates him and Haymitch struggles to not to get hurt before Plutarch sedates her on her back. This may have been done for rating reasons, not to mention it would've made Katniss look bad (in the eyes of the audience that is).

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