Hunger Games Director Gets Candid About His Worst Decision
Ultimately, he regrets it deeply…
It's been over a decade since the release of The Hunger Games, but it remains one of the most popular film franchises in history. Based on Suzanne Collins's novel series of the same name, the immensely popular film series has spanned four movies, with the fifth, a prequel, set to open in theaters in just a month.
As fans look forward to the premiere, they are reminiscing about the four original installments that covered three books by Collins. The third novel in the series was split into two films, which incited viewers' ire as they had to wait a year between the movies. The decision is now widely recognized as a mistake, even by the films' director.
Regrets, I've Had a Few
The last three movies of The Hunger Games franchise were directed by Francis Lawrence, who also directed Red Sparrow, which starred the Hunger Games' lead, Jennifer Lawrence. (Just a brief disclaimer: there was no nepotism involved, as the two aren't related despite sharing the same last name.) According to the filmmaker, he had the viewers' best interests at heart when he split the franchise's finale into two parts: he wanted more screen time to better tell Collins's story on screen. But, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
'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,' Lawrence admitted in an interview.
So, even though the audience got to see more of their beloved story in the two movies than they would have seen in just one, they had to wait an additional year before they were able to see the end of the story.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Francis Lawrence also directed the upcoming prequel of The Hunger Games franchise. Based on Suzanne Collins's 2020 book, it delves into the history of Panem and the barbaric ritual the film and novel series are named after.
When asked if he was tempted to split the new movie into two parts, Lawrence was unequivocal in his response.
'I would never let them split the book in two,' the director said. '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 Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has a runtime of over two and a half hours and is set to premiere on November 17th.