Actress Jennifer Lawrence shot to international fame when she starred in the fantasy action franchise Hunger Games. Based on the series of novels by Suzanne Collins, Lawrence starred as the protagonist Katniss Everdeen. The franchise spanned over four films and a new spin-off film is set to release in November.
The final book of the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was split into two parts. It followed the trend of splitting the final book into two parts which was set by the Harry Potter franchise. Director Francis Lawrence recently claimed that he regretted the decision.
The Jennifer Lawrence starrer The Hunger Games was first released in 2012. The film was based on the young-adult fiction novels by Suzanne Collins and was one of the series of such franchises being launched at the time. Other franchises such as Percy Jackson, Twilight, The Maze Runner, and the Divergent series also gained momentum during this time.
The Hunger Games and Twilight became the most successful of the lot and the films actually got to adapt all the books in the series. The Hunger Games franchise has collectively earned $2.9 billion at the global box office, with four films. The last book of the franchise, Mockingjay was split into two parts and was released a year apart.
The series followed the trend that was set by the Harry Potter franchise, where Deathly Hallows was split into two parts. While it worked for that franchise, other series like Twilight and Hunger Games suffered with that decision. The final film of the Divergent series never received its second part.
While this trend has slowly died down, it is still now seen with films like Denis Villeneuve's Dune series being split into two. MCU's Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were shot back-to-back like the other franchises and were intended to be a two-parter.
Francis Lawrence came on board as the director for the series in the second film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He also served as the director for the final two films and will return to the franchise with the prequel film The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
Lawrence recently mentioned that he regretted the decision and he would not do it again. He said in an interview with People magazine,
"I totally regret it. I totally do. I'm not sure everybody does, but I definitely do…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."
Francis Lawrence theorized that the waiting time between the films was what irked the fans, especially after leaving the first one open on a cliffhanger. While he did accept that the decision allowed them to adapt more scenes from the book onto the film, it still was a bad decision to leave the fans waiting for a year.
He also refused to adapt the upcoming film The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes into two films. He said,
"I would never let them split the book in two. There was never a real conversation about it. It's a long book, but we got so much sh*t for splitting Mockingjay into two — from fans, from critics, from everybody — that I was like, 'No way. I'll just make a longer movie.'"
The decision to split Hunger Games: Mockingjay into two parts also resulted in Mockingjay Part 2 being the lowest-grossing film in the entire franchise.