List of films split into multiple parts
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.
In many cases, the process of splitting films has been criticized, citing financial motivations in turning successful books into longer film series. 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". The Hobbit proved particularly controversial because the running time was the result of adding material that was not part of the original book.
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. 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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- Die Nibelungen were fantasy epics directed by Fritz Lang in 1924. The first half of the film is called Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and the second half of the film is called Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache (Kriemhild's Revenge).
- The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers were originally filmed as one film adapting the novel by Alexandre Dumas, but were released as separate films in 1973 and 1974.
- Bernardo Bertolucci's 317-minute-long epic historical drama film 1900 (Novecento) was originally presented in two parts upon its European theatrical release (the American release was edited into a single 247-minute version); this presentation was preserved for most of the film's DVD and Blu-ray releases, which present both parts on separate discs.
- In 1988, a nearly six-hour film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Little Dorrit was released; it was split into two parts released simultaneously.
- In 1989, The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie were produced as one film but later re-edited into two.
- Kill Bill by Quentin Tarantino was originally planned as one film, but was split into two films – Volume 1 and Volume 2, released six months apart in 2003 and 2004 – to avoid cutting it to a shorter length.
- The Japanese epic film trilogy The Human Condition, directed by Masaki Kobayashi and based on the six-volume novel by Junpei Gomikawa, had a run time of almost ten hours as a single film, resulting in the one film being split into three; Volume 1, No Greater Love, was released in 1959, Volume 2, Road to Eternity, also in 1959, and Volume 3, A Soldier's Prayer, in 1961. These were also further split into two parts each for a total of 6 films for the Japanese theatrical release.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows of the Harry Potter film series was one of the first franchise novels split into multiple parts; Part 1 and Part 2 were released in November 2010 and July 2011.
- In 2010, Bollywood film Rakta Charitra was released as two films back-to-back months apart.
- In 2012, Bollywood films Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 and Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 were originally shot as a single film measuring a total of 319 minutes, but since no Indian cinema would screen a film of that length, it was divided into two parts (160 mins and 159 minutes) for the Indian market.
- Breaking Dawn of the Twilight film series was split into two parts. Part 1 was released in November 2011 and Part 2 a year later.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a two-part animated adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. The first part was released in 2012, and the second in 2013. A Deluxe Edition combining both parts into an unabridged movie was released in late 2013.
- Nymphomaniac was originally supposed to be only one complete entry; but, because of its four-hour length, Lars von Trier made the decision to split the project into two separate films.
- The Hobbit is a three-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. As director Peter Jackson developed the script, the additional material added from Tolkien's notes and The Lord of the Rings Appendices required splitting the single planned film into two parts, and later, into three. An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies were released at one-year intervals beginning in December 2012.
- The film adaptation of The Hunger Games novel Mockingjay is split into two parts, with Part 1 released in November 2014 and Part 2 a year later.
- Attack on Titan, a theatrical adaptation of the manga series, was split into two parts, both released a month apart in 2015.
- The film adaption of the third Divergent novel Allegiant was set to be split into two parts: Allegiant released in March 2016, and Ascendant was set to be released June 9, 2017. Due to Allegiant's poor box office performance, Ascendant was eventually cancelled.
- Avengers: Endgame is a direct continuation of the film Avengers: Infinity War, and was titled Infinity War - Part 2 at one point in its development. Infinity War was released on April 27, 2018 and Endgame on April 26, 2019.
- Biography of N. T. Rama Rao was originally supposed to be a single film but because of its length, it was split into films N.T.R: Kathanayakudu and N.T.R: Mahanayakudu both were released one month apart in January and February 2019.
- Satran, Joe (1 August 2012). "'The Hobbit' Movies To Be Split Into 3, Echoing 'Harry Potter'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Jackson to split Hobbit into three movies". ABC (Australia). Jul 31, 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Peter Jackson's The Hobbit to be extended to three films". The Guardian. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Why Popular Movie Adaptations are Being Split into Parts". Pink and Black Magazine. August 10, 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Ebert, Roger (December 16, 1988). "Little Dorrit". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- Joey Esposito (5 February 2013). "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 Blu-ray Review". IGN.
- Goldberg, Matt (June 1, 2011). "Lionsgate to Break THE HUNGER GAMES Books into Four Movies". Collider. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Lionsgate Splitting Third 'Divergent' Book 'Allegiant' into Two Films". Variety.
- "Divergent Series: Ascendant - Why The Final Movie Was Canceled". Screen Rant. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2019-09-25.