Never split your tens is a bedrock rule of blackjack. For filmmakers, the rule may be never split your source material.
“I totally regret it,” filmmaker Francis Lawrence said to People. “I totally do. I’m not sure everybody does, but I definitely do.”
Lawrence directed three of the four Hunger Games films, and is also the director of its forthcomin prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
The change of attitude by Lawrence is in contrast to his prior defenses of the split. Back in 2014 for Mockingjay – Part 1 and 2015’s Mockingjay – Part 2, he called the films “two distinct stories.”
“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 now says. “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.”
He does state, though, that he was able to get more of the book material filmed by the split, allowing that four hours of film is better than two hours.
When prequel The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes arrives on Nov. 17, it will not be split across multiple films. Instead, it will have a series record run time of two hours and 36 minutes.
“I would never let them split the book in two,” Lawrence said of the new movie. “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.’”