‘Hunger Games’ Director Regrets Splitting Final Film In Two Parts
Every studio dreams of a franchise like Marvel, something that can conceivably go on and on forever, churning out new films unto infinity. Sometimes, though, a series comes with an end point built in. In the case of many of the film series inspired by young adult novels of the 21st century, they were all written as massive stories with definitive conclusions. So what’s a film studio to do with something like that? Well, split at least one of the books (typically the last one) in half to squeeze at least one more massive box office haul out of the concept before retiring it, of course!
Such was the case with franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight and even The Hobbit, which stretched out a slim Tolkien novel across three implausibly distended parts. The final film in the hugely successful The Hunger Games franchise was split as well, with Mockingjay coming out in theaters in two halves, one in the fall of 2014 and the other in the fall of 2015 — a decision that the movies’ director, Francis Lawrence, now says he regrets.
Lawrence told People Magazine that with the benefit of hindsight he “totally” regrets splitting Mockingjay. “I'm not sure everybody does, but I definitely do,” he added.
As to why he now feels that way, here was his explanation...
What I realized in retrospect — and after hearing all the reactions and feeling the kind of wrath of fans, critics and people at the split — is that I realized it was frustrating. And I can understand it ... In an episode of television, if you have a cliffhanger, you have to wait a week or you could just binge it and then you can see the next episode. But making people wait a year, I think, came across as disingenuous, even though it wasn't.
While the two-part final film concept seemed to peter out not long after Mockingjay, it’s made a big comeback in recent years; Fast X, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning were all “part” sequels released in 2023, with a two-part Wicked movie and a second Dune film due in theaters in the years ahead. So Lawrence might have had a change of heart, but the studios generally have not.
Lawrence’s new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, opens in theaters on November 17. At least as of this writing, it is not a two-part film.