The Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence reveals he didn’t agree with the decision to adapt the final novel, Mockingjay, into two movie parts.
- The Hunger Games franchise director, Francis Lawrence, did not support the decision to split the final novel into two movies and wishes they had made one complete movie instead.
- Lawrence now sees the decision to split the movie as detrimental to audiences because it can be manipulative and annoying to make people wait a year for the second half.
- The criticism caused Lawrence to insist on making Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes into one movie despite it being the longest Hunger Games novel in the series.
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The Hunger Games franchise director Francis Lawrence addresses the controversial decision to divide the adaptation of the final novel Mockingjay into two movies. Suzanne Collins’ 2010 novel served as the conclusion to the initial Hunger Games trilogy, following former games Victor Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as war breaks out across Panem, where she grapples with being a figurehead of the resistance against the Capitol. The novel’s movie adaptation was divided into two parts, released on November 21, 2014, and November 20, 2015, respectively.
While the prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will explore the events that shape a young President Snow (Tom Blyth), director Lawrence sat down with Josh Horowitz of the Happy Sad Confused podcast to reflect on the final entries, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. When asked about the decision to split the final Hunger Games novel into two movie halves, the director stated that he did not support the decision and was emboldened to insist that the prequel would be a single movie before explaining how he now sees the decision as detrimental to audiences. Check out Lawrence’s full explanation below:
No. Yeah, ours’ got flack. I was not a big fan of doing it. I wish that we would have done just one complete movie. And, you know, jumping to Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, when I got involved with that, and that’s the longest of the books, the idea was “Should we split it?” and I was like “No”. No way, I don’t care if it’s a long movie, we’re doing one standalone movie. I’m not taking sh*t for splitting the movie again…
Just because it feels, and I understand now, you sort of trick yourself into thinking that you’re telling these two sort of distinct stories, which we kind of are. But it still is a little manipulative, you know, that when you do a first half of a movie, and then you’re going to make people wait a year for a second half, I can see how it would annoy some as opposed to just doing a complete piece of work.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the longest novel in the Hunger Games series, with 517 pages.
Why Was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Split Into Two Parts?
The decision to divide The Hunger Games‘ final chapter into two halves was not unprecedented at the time, as other novel adaptations had already divided their finales, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2010 and 2011 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in 2011 and 2012. In both cases, the decision was attributed to wanting to faithfully adapt the novels to the screen. Twilight author Stephanie Meyer even insisted in 2008 that two films would be the only way to do the novels justice while working within an average movie length. Furthermore, studios would justify their decisions by wanting to leave viewers with more time to spend with the characters they love.
Related: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Is The 1 Movie Finale That Benefited From Being 2 Parts
As time passed, however, the practice of dividing novel adaptations fell under more scrutiny. While both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 and 2 were financially and critically successful, the movies were critiqued for how they adapted the source material. Many critics pointed out that the pacing of each installment felt uneven, as one focused on Katniss’ integration into District 13’s resistance, and the latter focused solely on the rebellion’s push toward The Capitol. As such, while certain adaptations still divide their source material into parts, audiences are more wary of whether it is best for the story being told.
With audiences having already critiqued The Hunger Games: Mockingjay for how it approached its source material, Lawrence’s comments bring some vindication. With the filmmaker admitting that he had reservations, it is evident that the decision was more on the part of the studios than a specific artistic vision. As such, it conveys relief that the director stood firm in not wishing to repeat the last installments’ shortcomings.
The Hunger Games saga is available to purchase on digital storefronts, including Prime Video and AppleTV. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes releases in theaters on November 17.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Release Date November 20, 2015 Director Francis Lawrence Cast Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Mahershala Ali, Sam Claflin, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Willow Shields, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeffrey Wright Rating PG-13 Runtime 137 Minutes Genres Adventure, Sci-Fi Writers Peter Craig, Danny Strong Budget $160 Million Studio(s) Color Force, Lionsgate Distributor(s) Lionsgate prequel(s) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Franchise(s) The Hunger Games
Source: Happy Sad Confused
Key Release Date
- The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Release Date: 2023-11-17