It’s no secret that film studios want to make the most profit possible from their properties. It’s understandable given the amount of funding put into the planning, production and especially marketing of each film they distribute every year.
Normally techniques to make more money go under the radar, and don’t really bother many audiences. It could be a video game adaption to obvious product placement during scenes of the film itself.
But in recent years a far more noticeable technique has become the target to go for. In recent years, certain films franchises have decided to increase profits by taking the planned finale of the series and splitting an overlong story into two films.
The series to popularise this trend was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2010. Deciding that there was too much content in the final book of the series, the producers decided on a two part adaption to fully capture the story.
Like most successful ideas in filmmaking, it wasn’t long before other film adaption franchises saw the signs and followed suit. A common idea among young adult franchises, film series such as Twilight, The Hunger Games and Divergent have all split their final entry into two separate films to gain more profit from the series before it ends.
A real infamous example of this mistake is Warner Bros. and their decisions concerning the Hobbit. Originally planned as a two part film adaption of the classic book (which itself was only 320 pages long), a decision was made during production to expand this into a trilogy. The audiences spoke during the release of each film, stating that the pacing in each film was off. This makes sense given that the first film was criticised for being slow and the final one being very action heavy, with the middle film being well rounded. If you were to shorten each film, combine them and split them in the middle, you can see the formation of two well rounded films.
A single film being split into two parts isn’t a new move though. Certain filmmakers have done it in the past, but it was normally for creative reasons than profitable. Quentin Tarantino lobbied for his 4 hour cut of Kill Bill, before producers convinced him to divide it into Volumes One and Two.
While that worked for a creative purpose, newer films are suffering because of the profitable reasons. Young adult adaptions may do well at the box office, but are normally given mediocre to poor responses by critics.
Unfortunately studios favour the former of these two, and continue to bring to trend to their adaptions. Audiences have complained about these new two parters for having very little story in each part, with sections feeling very padded out for time.
There have already been announcements for two parters being released in the future, and the trend looks set to continue as a favoured profiting scheme for studios. Hopefully only time will tell if studios can learn to improve each part rather than stretch them to fill a required time slot.