Director Francis Lawrence realized the fans had every right to have mixed feelings over the final Hunger Games book being divided into two different movies.
Francis directed the film adaptations of Suzanne Collins' science fiction dystopian novels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the second and third novels. Gary Ross directed the first adaptation.
The 52-year-old filmmaker returned to direct the upcoming origin story, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, and now he's addressing history with the film franchise.
In a new People interview, Francis admitted he regrets splitting the final book into Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), which is quite validating for the fandom.
"I totally regret it. I totally do," Francis said. "I'm not sure everybody does, but I definitely do." He recognized that while the trilogy's final novel was robust enough to be two halves with their "own separate dramatic questions" and arcs, he understands why fans were angry about the delay between the films' releases.
"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 added. "And I can understand it."
"In truth, we got more on the screen out of the book than we would've in any of the other movies because you're getting close to four hours of screen time for the final book," Francis expressed. "But, I see and understand how it frustrated people."
And that's true. The fans, critics, and everyone involved had mixed feelings about Mockingjay being spread out into two movies. Some people definitely weren’t a fan of the split:
Always felt like they were trying to copy the Harry Potter formula at the time. Twilight and Hunger Games both did it and it felt unnecessary
— Luke Flux (@LukeFlux1) October 13, 2023
Yeah because Deathly Hallows was the only one that justified that. Fuckin Twilight and Hunger Games didn't.
— Bangerang (@Bangerang17) October 13, 2023
the first mockingjay was boring 😭😭
— juaan (@juaangng_) October 13, 2023
Many long standing franchise did this blunder after copying Harry Potter deathly hollows part 1 and 2 split
— Vikram Vetaal (@VarunDonBhai) October 13, 2023
Yeah cus it was terrible being spitted up! Should have been 1 big move
— Van (@vanman_1000) October 13, 2023
And other folks were surprisingly cool with it:
I disagree, if they forced the whole story into 1 movie, they won't be able to tell most of the Mockingjay. They tried their best to stay true with the book, even when we lost our Plutarch (rip Philip Seymour Hoffman) they didn't stray too far from the book
— KimEunSook said F U when she wrote MrSunshine (@Ending13Sad) October 13, 2023
I actually loved part one tbh pic.twitter.com/bpNKogPoan
— Lucas 🍿🦄 (@beammeuplucas) October 13, 2023
I’m glad they did or else they would’ve cut out a bunch from the books. They tried their best to stay faithful
— heyz (@onpurposevinyl) October 13, 2023
I genuinely feel like I'm okay with how it was split. But just imagine what a masterpiece it would've been if both movies were joined. Then again... as at the time it came out, 3 to 4 hour movies weren't really a thing so some good aspects would've been cut out and that's a NO
— D.U.B.E.M (@therealokeke) October 13, 2023