Lionsgate promoted the scene with binary code, some HTML excavation, and an #UnlockMockingjay hashtag — and then it leaked on Tumblr. UPDATED with a second deleted scene featuring Jennifer Lawrence.
1. On Monday, Lionsgate sent fans of The Hunger Games on a wild goose chase through the internet for a deleted scene from Mockingjay — Part 1. You can watch the scene below:
The scene, which leaked early on Tumblr, features President Snow (Donald Sutherland) explaining to Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) why he needs to be the Capitol’s “voice of reason.”
It’s certainly a strong scene, but one can also see why director Francis Lawrence chose to cut it from the film and put the audience in the same place as Katniss — unsure as to what was happening to Peeta beyond what the Capitol was letting her see.
2. UPDATE: On Tuesday, Lionsgate also released this hilarious deleted scene of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) undergoing some unconventional makeup.
3. The release of the first deleted scene on Monday, meanwhile, followed what has become a standard playbook for working fans into a lather.
4. Step one: Get everyone marking their calendars.
On Sunday, a message was posted to The Hunger Games’ official Facebook profile promoting “an important message” from President Snow.
Yet again, Lionsgate seems to be treating the real world like it’s Panem — and specifically, the Capitol.
Not creepy at all!
5. Step two: Activate the internet nerds.
On Monday, President Snow’s “message” became interrupted with a series of binary codes.
Yup, fans had to figure out how to translate binary.
6. Step three: Start trending.
The binary code led fans to a series of websites, where a message to tweet the hashtag #UnlockMockingjay was hidden inside the respective sites’ HTML code.
This was involved.
7. Almost immediately, the hashtag indeed started trending.
“You’re still trying to #UnlockMockingjay. Real or not real?””Real, because that’s what the fandom does, unlocking things.”
8. And although some were skeptical…
i bet they have a specific time they are going to release the scene no matter what, like last time #UnlockMockingjay
9. …others were committed to making this exercise in fan engagement work.
AW REMEMBER THE OLD DAYS WHEN WE HAD TO UNLOCK CATCHING FIRE STILLA USING THAT ONE HASHTAG AW THEYRE BRINGING IT BACK #UnlockMockingjay
13. Step four: Tantalize fans with evidence of excruciatingly slow progress to a seemingly attainable goal.
Eventually, fans discovered a site that seemed to mark the progress of the hashtag…very, very, very slowly.
And that progress revealed the Capitol logo being burned away by the Mockingjay logo.
This GIF, by the way, is roughly 30 times faster than the actual progress.
14. Roughly two hours after the promotion first started, fans grew impatient.
#UnlockMockingjay ugh i wanna SEE MORE THEN THE CAPITOL LOGO
18. Whether this was a covert step five — whet fans’ appetite with a low-res “leaked” version — or an actual breakdown of the system remains unclear.
19. But either way, even though the scene seemed to include a knowing jibe at some of The Hunger Games‘ “rabid fans”…
20. …those fans commenced flailing anyway.
My tl right now-why was that scene cut!!!!!!!-fuck snow-peeta baby -still tweet #UnlockMockingjay -peeta didn’t deserve this-crying
#UnlockMockingjay It was right before the HIJACKING!!!! Poor Peeta!! #mockingjay ðŸ’”
I AM SOBBING OMG PEETA BABY ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ @TheHungerGames #UnlockMockingjay
26. And that is how you drive Hunger Games fans insane.
27. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 is available for digital download on Feb. 17.
This post has been updated to include the second deleted scene of Katniss getting bad makeup.