Reports indicating that Lionsgate wants to split the final Hunger Games novel, Mockingjay, into two movies leaked out nearly a year ago.
Per usual, we're just now getting studio confirmation that the Hunger Games movie franchise will follow in the footsteps of the Harry Potter and Twilight series (in that regard).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will hit theaters on November 21st, 2014, nearly a year to the date after the second installment, Catching Fire, is released - and, about a year before Mockingjay Part 2 swoops into theaters on November 20th, 2015.
Production on Catching Fire begins this September, with series newcomers Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman joining the Hunger Games cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harelson, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) will be holding the directorial reins, and is going to shoot a portion of the Hunger Games sequel in IMAX.
Most people seem to agree that the final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows, benefitted from not being chopped down to fit a single 2-3 hour movie. However, the general feeling is that the last Twilight novel, Breaking Dawn, could've easily been encapsulated in a single film - and have turned out better for it (we're talking from an artistic perspective, not a financial one, obviously).
Without spoiling anything: Mockingjay meets the two somewhere in the middle, as its narrative is heftier than that of Breaking Dawn, but not so dense as Deathly Hallows. Suzanne Collins' climactic Hunger Games novel lends itself to a visual medium, being the most action-heavy chapter in the trilogy. Whether or not that justifies stretching the material to cover two films - that's up for debate.
Let us know your own thoughts about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay being split into two movies (good/bad news?) in the comments section.