The Hunger Games | Director regrets splitting Mockingjay into two films

The Hunger Games
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The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes is going to be the longest The Hunger Games film – but there was no chance of it being split into two.

As Lionsgate prepares to try and reignite the big screen The Hunger Games franchise, director Francis Lawrence has been chatting about a contentious decision from first time around.

We’ve had four films so far in the series, based on three books from Suzanne Collins. The first two films? Really good, I’d suggest, and they still stack up. But the screen adaptation of the third, Mockingjay, remains undercut by the decision to slice the story up into two films.

The Hunger Games wasn’t the only one to try this. Harry Potter had done it, Twilight was going the same way, and the Divergent series attempted it too. Commercially, it made sense: you can try and squeeze another bucket of money out of the same source. Narratively? Well, less so.

We’ve recently seen director David Yates admitting that the editing job on Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part One was complicated by the fact that there was no real ending to the story. You can read more on that here.

Now, Francis Lawrence has conceded that the Mockingjay split caused The Hunger Games trouble as well. “I totally regret it. I totally do”, he admitted to People. “I’m not sure everybody does, but I definitely do.”

He admitted that while the creative team felt there was an arc to both Mockingjay’s parts, the fan reaction wasn’t as kind. I remember watching Part One and thinking it felt a bit abrupt, and then we all had to wait a year for the next part. Lawrence concedes now that people felt it was “frustrating” and “disingenuous”, which he insists wasn’t the intention.

He’s now back behind the camera for The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes, and tellingly, it’s an adaptation packed into one very long film this time around. The running time has been locked at two hours and 36 minutes, and Lawrence was insistent that this time, it wasn’t even on the table that it could be split into more than one film.

The new film arrives on November 17th.

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