List of films split into multiple parts

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Over the course of the history of cinema, some films have been split into multiple parts. This has been done for creative, practical, and financial reasons. Originally done in the form of low-budget serial films, more recently it has often been done with big-budget feature films.


Early examples were serials, which were produced in chapters of 10–30 minutes each, and presented in theaters one each week as a prelude to feature films on the same ticket. With each episode typically ending in a cliffhanger, they encouraged regular attendance at the cinema, and the short running length kept down the cost of each installment, and the number of reels needed to show them.

Later feature films would be produced with a similar strategy in mind, deliberately setting up plot developments to be developed in subsequent features. When the initial film has been highly successful, additional installments may be produced concurrently, taking advantage of economies of scale and the availability of actors and directors to facilitate production. (e.g. The Matrix, Back to the Future)

A common reason for splitting a film has been to accommodate an extended running time; many people would find it uncomfortable to sit for a single three- or four-hour presentation. Some films have addressed this by adopting a practice typical in stage theater: having an intermission at the approximate midpoint of the film, during which members of the audience can stand and walk around, use the restroom if needed, or get a snack or refill their beverage at the concession stand. (e.g. Gandhi, Gods and Generals) Other directors have instead split the film into separate releases. (e.g. Kill Bill)

In the 21st century, it became increasingly common for big-budget films – usually those based on novels which might otherwise have to be substantially condensed, but especially the last in a series – to be released as multiple features. The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was one of the first to do so with the final book in a series, a pattern followed by the Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent series. Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit – a final follow-up to his The Lord of the Rings series – was released as three separate features.[1]


In many cases, the process of splitting films has been criticized, citing financial motivations in turning successful books into longer film series.[1] The Australian Broadcasting Corporation called it "a recent Hollywood trend of splitting a single book into multiple movies to maximise box office returns from blockbuster franchises".[2] The Hobbit proved particularly controversial because the running time was the result of adding material that was not part of the original book.[3]

Studios have countered that one reason for splitting novels from series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games into multiple films is to appease fans who do not want the film series to end.[4] They have also cited the reluctance of theaters to play lengthy films (due to the constraints that longer runtimes place on the number of times a film can be shown per day) without also raising ticket prices accordingly.


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  1. ^ a b Satran, Joe (1 August 2012). "'The Hobbit' Movies To Be Split Into 3, Echoing 'Harry Potter'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Jackson to split Hobbit into three movies". ABC (Australia). Jul 31, 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Peter Jackson's The Hobbit to be extended to three films". The Guardian. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Why Popular Movie Adaptations are Being Split into Parts". Pink and Black Magazine. August 10, 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 16, 1988). "Little Dorrit". Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Joey Esposito (5 February 2013). "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 Blu-ray Review". IGN.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Matt (June 1, 2011). "Lionsgate to Break THE HUNGER GAMES Books into Four Movies". Collider. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Lionsgate Splitting Third 'Divergent' Book 'Allegiant' into Two Films". Variety.
  9. ^ "Divergent Series: Ascendant - Why The Final Movie Was Canceled". Screen Rant. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2019-09-25.

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