This is for the people who want to be angry that they dished out an exorbitant amount of money to see only half of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, but have no one to blame but themselves. And the worst part is, it’s not even like you can say that you know better now.
Don’t lie, this isn’t the first time you’ve fallen for the same underhanded marketing scheme. You might get a pass for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (parts 1 and 2), but this behavior has become a template for both you and film studios alike.
Book-turned-movies are embracing this opportunity to maximize profits, thinly veiled as efforts to preserve literary integrity.
Popular sci-fi-romance Twilight: Breaking Dawn followed the same trend, while the dystopian film adaptation of Divergent‘s sequel(s), Allegiant, is also to be split into two parts. There’s even speculation over a two-part Avengers 3, a cinematic spin-off of Marvel’s franchise of comic books.
With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third installation of J.R.R Tolkein’s famous fantasy-adventure epics, in theatres, you’re likely to fall for the same scheme.
The tradition of splitting movies into two parts isn’t new, nor is it always a sentence to the cinematic purgatory that is formulaic action flicks.
For example, Quentin Tarantino’s iconic Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 have made their way into many a film halls of fame. The martial arts spaghetti-western was hailed as “greater than its two parts” by the late and acclaimed film critic, Roger Ebert, who called it a “masterful saga” and “one of the best films of the year.”
Kill Bill was originally planned as a four-hour epic before Tarantino decided to split it into two two-hour halves. The difference here is that Tarantino’s decision was a necessary artistic decision, rather than a strategy to cash in on extra profits.
So why must cinema split everything we love into two parts? Certainly it maximizes the budget, often reusing the same actors, production and set. Not to mention, viewers are basically obligated to watch both movies, doubling profits. From a business perspective, two-part movies are a double whammy (no pun intended).
And why not, as long as people are willing (and paying)? It prolongs the viewing experience for hardcore fans and allows films to better fit hundreds of pages of content.
Personally, I’d take a fully fleshed out two-part movie over an endless stream of pointless sequels (unlike fans of the Ice Age franchise). It’s just that, for the hype it generates, you’d expect something that can stand alone as well as its singular counterparts (Devil Wears Prada, Life of Pi, War Horse).
It would be unfair (and boring) to expect War Horse every time a book hits the big screen, but for something you’re going to see twice, films should at least attempt to be memorable.