Director Francis Lawrence regrets splitting Hunger Games: Mockingjay into two parts. Despite it allowed him to film more of the novel, but he understands why fans were upset.
When The Hunger Games hit theatres in 2012, it was met with a fervent fan following eager to be absorbed in the realm of Panem. However, towards the end of the four-film series, many were mad that the final novel in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy had been broken into two films.
In an interview with People Magazine, Lawrence admits, “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,” he said. “And I can understand that.”
He continued, “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 episodes. But making people wait a year, I think, came across as disingenuous, even though it wasn’t.”
However, in 2015 Lawrence was seen defending the decision in interviews during the release of Mockingjay — Part 1 in 2014 and Mockingjay — Part 2.
He told to Gizmodo, “You know, we got some flack for splitting the movies; I think they’re two distinct stories, but really, that kind of evolution [of the characters] would be a much, much, much more difficult thing to do in the course of two hours versus the course of two films.”
Prequel movie The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will not be divided into two. It will, however, be the longest-running Hunger Games film to yet, clocking in at two hours and 36 minutes. Lawrence says, “I would never let them split the book in two. It’s a long book, but we got so much s— 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 Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes releases November 17.