Production isn’t yet underway on the second film entry in the adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, but that’s not stopping Lionsgate from setting release dates for two further installments. Though there are only three books, the studio previously announced that they would split the trilogy up into four movies. At the time we assumed this meant that they were following the recent trend of splitting the final book in a series into two movies regardless of whether or not it’s entirely necessary. In the case of Mockingjay, the third and final book in The Hunger Games series, the merit of splitting it into two films is bit of a toss-up. Nevertheless, we’ll be getting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 on November 21st, 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 on November 20th, 2015.
Hit the jump for more, including where I think the last book will be split.
Of the three books in Collins’ series, I’d actually venture to say that the second book, Catching Fire, would benefit the most from being split in half. There’s a pretty great splitting point in Catching Fire that would make for two tonally different yet ultimately entertaining separate films. Alas, Lionsgate knows they can reap an expectedly massive box office haul by making people pay twice to see the franchise’s finale, thus we get these release dates for Mockingjay 1 and 2 via Deadline.
Though The Hunger Games did stellar box office back in March, it appears that Lionsgate is pretty set on this being a Thanksgiving series. The studio recently acquired Summit, which released all but one of the Twilight films towards the end of November to great success, so they seem to modeling their release strategy for further Hunger Games films off of the sparkly vamp franchise. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is slated for release on November 22nd, 2013.
It’s tough to talk about the final two Hunger Games books without getting into spoiler territority, so beware SPOILERS for Mockingjay follow below.
Though Mockingjay more or less works as one story, there is an obvious point at which it would make sense to cut the first film off. I’m talking about the scene that occurs once Katniss and her team have successfully rescued a kidnapped Peeta, and the latter wakes up and immediately tries to kill Katniss. Cut to black. Credits. For those that haven’t read the book, it could come off as a pretty big WTF moment, depending on how much they downplay Peeta’s brainwashing while he’s in captivity. Francis Lawrence takes over directing duties from Gary Ross on Catching Fire, but it remains to be seen if he’ll finish the series out. 2014 isn’t far off at all, so it’d be a tight schedule for him to segue from wrapping Catching Fire to prepping Mockingjay Part 1. What do you think, Hunger Games fans? Is splitting Mockingjay in half the right decision?