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UPDATED: THE HUNGER GAMES series to make four movies out of three books?

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
June 1st, 2011

UPDATED: Deadline now reports that, though this four-movie swing isn't set in stone, "Lionsgate has covered itself by signing the cast to option deals that encompass all four films." They also report that the split would see the final book, Mockingjay, split in half for two movies. This, of course, is also contingent on how the first film does at the box office. Bizarrely enough, the Deadline report also continues to speak of director Gary Ross as the only director for all films, though it's not been previously reported that he was set for the entire series.

Oh, come on. In news that will shock absolutely no one, Lionsgate has apparently been holding out on us, as it looks as if THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy of books will see the big screen in four parts, not three. After Summit went the same route with the final book from The Twilight Saga and Warner Bros. gave the same treatment to HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, this is all just par for the course. But, where will Lionsgate get four movies from three books that are all evenly paced and all clock in around the same page count?

/Film spotted the hidden bit of news in Deadline's story about how Lionsgate is already hailing THE HUNGER GAMES as a cash cow, and went ahead to confirm it with Lionsgate, so this is not just a rumor. The rep confirmed that they "have a deal that encompasses 4 movies.” However, this confirmation did not include any news on how the books would be split to form four movies. As there's been no news on the first film, set to come out next year, being split, we can only assume that such a cleave would come either to CATCHING FIRE or MOCKINGJAY.

 Whereas both Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows were larger books that incorporated a ton of mythology, both Catching Fire and Mockingjay feel very similarto the first book of the series in terms of pacing, page count, and structure. Furthermore, all of the books in Suzanne Collins' series have a very definite end to them - though the author used her endings to set up the conflicts in the next installment, there's a clear endpoint to each book. There's no moment that sticks out in my mind as an obvious and internal cutting point in the books that could replace the natural endings they all have, which leaves me to wonder if, instead of slicing one book into two, the final two books will be put together and then essentially cut into thirds. If that's the case, I would suspect that the final film would rely very heavily on the action that forms the last third or so of Mockingjay.

I am very much a fan of The Hunger Games series, and I am still excited about the films (even after all that casting announcement whiplash), but this four-film promise doesn't strike me as a great idea. It's just not organic and the books are not conducive to it.

Other Mockingjays out there, do you agree or disagree with me? Where would you see the books being split?

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