'Hunger Games' prequel announced with movie adaptation looking likely

Jennifer Lawrence played the titular character Katniss Everdeen in the previous four films. (AP)

A decade after seemingly wrapping up The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins is taking readers back to Panem, and it appears as though there will be a film based on the book too.

The as-yet-untitled prequel book, set 64 years before the beginning of her multimillion-selling trilogy, will be published in 2020.

Lionsgate released the four Hunger Games movies, and the studio's vice chairman, Michael Burns, has suggested a prequel movie is on the table in the past. Jennifer Lawrence, the star of the films, has already ruled out returning as Katniss Everdeen.

In a recent statement to The Associated Press, the chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake, said: “As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne's next book to be published.

“We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”

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The first three Hunger Games books - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay - have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in the first Hunger Games film, released in 2012. (Lionsgate)

The new book is set well before the lifetime of Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the billion-dollar film franchise.

Spokeswoman for Scholastic, a publishing company, Tracy van Straaten declined to comment on the new book’s contents or featured characters beyond what’s described in Monday’s announcement.

The very title Hunger Games has become a catchphrase for suffering and deadly competition, inspiring such headlines as “Trump’s $1 trillion (infrastructure) plan inspires ‘Hunger Games’ angst.”

AP says Lionsgate did not immediately respond when asked if an agreement for film rights had already been reached.