In a bid to reclaim attention from certain other trilogies that, sure, are getting all the attention just now because they’re ostensibly more ‘adult’, even though we all know which of them is really the more mature, Lionsgate Entertainment announced this week that its cinematic adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster Hunger Games books will follow the lead of previous teen bait by splitting its final instalment – Mockingjay, in this case – across two separate movies. You see that, Fifty Shades? Is your film adaptation totally, 100% confirmed yet? That’s not the kind of being split in two you’ve been talking about with your dirty mouth now, is it? Not even with that total jock Bret Easton Ellis.
Following the massive success of The Hunger Games upon its big screen release in April of this year – $678,337,616 in box office receipts and counting – Mockingjay will now see its first part released to an unsuspecting public in November 2014, with part two to follow almost exactly a year later. The second film in the series – Catching Fire – is due for a November 2013 release, thus bringing to fruition the dream Suzanne Collins has had ever since she was a little girl of someday owning the month of November outright. Gary Ross, director of the first film, has handed the sequel work over to Francis Lawrence, director of such famously 100% accurate, not in any way fanboy-incensing literary adaptations as I Am Legend and Constantine, so that’ll work out just fine.
Though the studio will undoubtedly wheel out the usual chestnuts about wanting to remain faithful to the epic scope of the book and give the fans what they want, this kind of move is increasingly standard practice in a Hollywood keen to hold onto a proven good thing for as long as it possibly can, coming as it does on the heels of two-part adaptations of teen pleasers Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1: November 2010, part 2: July 2011, combined box office: $2,284,510,930), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (part 1: November 2011, part 2: November 2012, box office so far: $705,058,657) and The Hobbit (part 1: December 2012, part 2: December 2013, projected box office: all of it). So basically, authors, the most lucrative pitch you can possibly make right now is ‘teenagers will love it, and you can split it into as many parts as you like.’