A cute disappointment
Just like Katniss, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 gets to face one last battle. After winning lots of new fans in the aftermath of the first, Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire became a global phenomenon. It surprisingly became the highest grossing domestic movie of 2013. Worldwide, the gross rose to a whopping $864 million dollars. With that in mind, everyone expected the first half of the final entry to easily cross the billion dollar mark, but somehow that didn’t happen. In fact, Part Three lost one fourth of its previous US audience’s. That’s a lot. Sure, that didn’t result in a Tomorrowland. If it weren’t for the strange success of American Sniper, Jennifer Lawrence would even have ruled the yearly box office list for a second time in a row, and it still means tons of money for everyone involved, but the minor setback is a notable detail. Jen has actually lost some of her fans.
How did that happen?
Most trilogies naturally lose fans after the first sequel. It happened for The Matrix, for Pirates of the Caribbean, and for Uwe Boll’s Rampage franchise (…too soon?). But it’s not bound to happen, so why did it? The second movie earned a Cinemascore of A- and the IMDb rating currently stands at 7.7. People obviously loved the second movie, so why didn’t the fans show up for the third, but brought everyone they ever dated on Craigslist for Furious 7? You should think that the series would gain more followers over the course of its lifetime, not lose some. Especially if one of the well known actors dies prior to the release of the movie.
Was it because of the photo leaks? That happened between August and September of 2014. I bet that actually lead to some mothers deciding not to support her anymore. But if you enjoy a movie franchise that pits children against each other to kill their opponents with bows and axes, you really shouldn’t have a problem with the controversial revelation that a good looking 20-year-old woman occasionally makes photos of her nude self. Which, by the way, is none of your business anyway.
Is it due the major change in plot? While the first two movies are mainly dealing with Suzanne Collins’s version of The Running Man, both parts of Mockingjay are about bringing down Donald Sutherland’s government. Shit gets dark, lots of civilians die, it’s suddenly way more about war and terrorism, thus no longer leaving room for two of the major draws of the earlier movies: the fight for survival and the love triangle of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.
Highly profitable, highly annoying splits
Or could it be that people are just tired of the trend of splitting the final entry of a franchise adaptation into two separate movies? I for one am, and that’s exactly why I haven’t seen the third movie yet. Now I have read the books, therefore I don’t feel like missing out, and of course I’m looking forward to seeing the adaptation of the final novel when it’s released in its complete and final form later this year, but honestly, I already disliked the dreadful experiences of watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 1. Facing the closing credits of one such Part 1 feels like stopping midway through sex. You don’t do that, even if it’s the movie about the shirtless were-boy that falls for the demonic newborn of his former crush.
I get it. From a producer’s point of view, it’s heaven. I would probably do the same. Splitting the highly anticipated continuation into as many single tickets as possible, with 3D and IMAX prices added on top of that. You can buy so many cool things with money.
The splitting kinda worked for both Kill Bill and the animated The Dark Knight Returns, but only because both of the stories had significantly different halves to begin with. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1 may not be one of the most anticipated movies for Chewers, but I bet if you’re into that, the splitting will feel as bad as it did on Potter, Bella, or Katniss. Props to The Maze Runner and Shades of Grey for planning their final entries as one movie each.
What about the big comic book franchises then? Both Avengers: Infinity War and Justice League will be split into two parts as well. Luckily, that will probably not be that much of a problem though. For one, they’re not really final entries of a longer story as both studios plan on expanding their cinematic universes for years to come. On the other hand, they’re not straight adaptations. Every single MCU or DCU movie is meticulously planned in advance, and while both movies will presumably end on big cliffhangers each, we’re not gonna feel the same kind of unsatisfying disjointedness we felt on other splits.
What do you think?
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