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First reactions land for the new Hunger Games movie

tom blyth and rachel zegler in the hunger games the ballad of songbirds and snakes
First reactions to Ballad of Songbirds & SnakesMurray Close/Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will bring us back to Panem later this month, and we finally know whether it's a winning return.

Based on Suzanne Collins' prequel novel of the same name, the new Hunger Games movie is set years before Katniss stepped into the arena, switching its attention to an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) and his mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler).

The new movie has started to be screened to critics ahead of its world premiere this Thursday (November 9). Those lucky few to have seen it have started to take to social media with their first reactions to Songbirds & Snakes.

So, is it another Hunger Games hit?

rachel zegler, tom blyth, the hunger games the ballad of songbirds and snakes
Murray Close/Lionsgate

"As a longtime obsessive of The Hunger Games, oh boy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes really delivered for me. Watching this made me feel the magic I felt when I saw the first movie as a 14-year-old," wrote Buzzfeed's Lauren Garafano.

Next Best Picture's Barry Hertz added: "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the best Hunger Games movie yet. It's darker, more of a character study than anything, but always genuinely entertaining."

They're far from the only positive reactions to the new movie. Check out some of the other early responses below.

Ahead of its release, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes has been confirmed as the longest Hunger Games movie to date, clocking in at nearly 157 minutes which makes it 10 minutes longer than Catching Fire.

Jennifer Lawrence shut down rumours earlier this year that she'd appear in the prequel movie, following her comments that she'd be up for a return to Panem if the opportunity ever came up.

The rumour was that she'd appear as Katniss's grandmother, leading Lawrence to joke: "Oh, 'cause I'm 49 in Hollywood years, huh? No! That's not true."

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is released in cinemas on November 17.

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