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'Mockingjay – Part 2' trailer: Why make two movies from one book?

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(Read caption) 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2' trailer

A new trailer has been released for the upcoming movie “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.”

The film is the last in the “Hunger Games” series, following what's become a Hollywood pattern of making two films out of the last installment of a best-selling book trilogy.

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This movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, is based off the trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, and "Mockingjay – Part 2" the movie, will be released this November. 

The new trailer focuses mainly on the relationship between protagonist Katniss Everdeen (played by Lawrence) and her younger sister, Prim (Willow Shields). It was for Prim’s sake that Katniss originally volunteered for the Hunger Games after Prim’s name was picked. For the Games, children from each district of the country of Panem are selected to fight to the death. 

The new movie finds Katniss as a key figure in the rebellion against the national government, including President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

The “Games” films have consistently been some of the highest-grossing in the years in which they have been released. The previous movie, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” was behind only “American Sniper” in the list of the highest-grossing movies of 2014, according to Box Office Mojo, and the second “Games” movie, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” was the top-grossing movie of 2013.

If you’re a fan of movies based on young adult book series, that “Part 2” in the title of the upcoming movie is familiar to you by now.

The “Harry Potter” movie series popularized the idea of dividing the last book in a series into two films with its installments “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Other young adult franchises such as “Twilight” and “Games” followed suit with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” and “2” and the “Mockingjay” movies. The “Divergent” film series will do the same next year, with a pair of movies based on author Veronica Roth’s book final book in the trilogy,“Allegiant” (though that franchise has eschewed the “Part 1” and “2” titles and given the final movie in the series a whole new title, “Ascendant").

There’s no question this strategy makes sense financially – fans flock to each film. But how does it affect the movies creatively? Especially with the “Breaking Dawn” and “Mockingjay” movies, some critics seemed to feel the first movie was simply killing time until the second arrived.

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One critic wrote of “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” “It’s clear that most of the juicy stuff will arrive in Part 2,” while another wrote of the first part, “so little else occurs between these momentous events [like a wedding] in ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 1’ that you can practically hear every second ticking by while awaiting the payoff.”

Some reviewers felt similarly about last year’s “Mockingjay – Part 1,” calling it “an overgrown and bloated trailer for a film yet to come” and writing, “With no real beginning and no real ending, the unsatisfying ‘Mockingjay Part 1’ is essentially all middle.” 

Moviegoers recently also saw the peril of stretching source material thin, with the recent “Hobbit” films being mostly poorly received by critics. In the case of “Hobbit,” a book around 300 pages, some supplementary material by “Hobbit” writer J.R.R. Tolkien was adapted to produce three films. 

However, as long as the last film in a series continues to do well at the box office, Hollywood has little incentive to change.