February 25, 2024

The odds weren’t in director Francis Lawrence‘s favor after splitting “Hunger Games: Mockingjay” into two parts.

In a recent interview with People magazine, Lawrence admitted he wouldn’t divide the final book into two films if he had the opportunity.

“I totally regret it. I totally do,” he said. “I’m not sure everybody does, but I definitely do.”

While Lawrence noted that the team agreed the “two halves of ‘Mockingjay’ had their own separate dramatic questions,” which made for complete arcs, he understands why fans were upset with the year-long wait between films.

“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 said. “And I can understand it.”

Lawrence 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 episode. But making people wait a year, I think, came across as disingenuous, even though it wasn’t. Our intentions were not to be disingenuous.”

After directing 2013’s “Catching Fire” and the two “Mockingjay” movies, Lawrence returns for the upcoming “Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” Based on Suzanne Collins’ book that was published in 2020, the prequel film has a series-record runtime of two hours and 36 minutes.

“I would never let them split the book in two,” Lawrence said of the “Hunger Games” prequel. “There was never a real conversation about it. It’s a long book, but we got so much shit for splitting ‘Mockingjay’ into two — from fans, from critics, from everybody — that I was like, ‘No way. I’ll just make a longer movie.’”

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” hits theaters Nov. 17.

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