Throughout the history of cinema, films have been split into multiple parts. This concept started with serials, which were usually 10-30 minute chapters. As time progressed, longer films with intermissions were introduced to allow audiences to take a break.
In the 21st century, big-budget films are often split into at least two parts, particularly when adapting novels such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or The Hobbit.
Why More Movies Are Being Splint Into Two Parts in 2023
It is important to differentiate between films being split up and sequels. Sequels typically have a time skip between the events of the previous film and its sequel, while a film split into two parts continues almost directly after part one. Some novel adaptations, particularly the last book, are split into two parts due to the amount of content.
There are three main reasons why blockbuster films are divided into multiple parts: creative, practical, and financial intentions. Creativity plays a major role in the decision to split a film, as it allows for intentional storytelling purposes. For example, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning and Dune Part Two were split due to the creative direction of the filmmakers.
Practicality is another reason why films are divided into parts. Directors do not want their audience to leave during a needlessly long film, so splitting it up allows for a more manageable viewing experience. For instance, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse expands on the Spider-Verse story, which requires a larger story and may necessitate a second or third part.
Finally, financial gain is always a consideration when splitting a film. Making a film requires a significant budget, and the creators aim to offset the cost of production through box office earnings. With major franchises, a clear love for the story is present, and everyone wants it to end with something incredible. For example, the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, Fast X, has a budget of over $340 million and needs to earn roughly $850 million to hit its benchmark. Despite the risks, a trilogy may be worth it for Universal Pictures for financial gain.
In conclusion, while splitting films into parts is not a new concept, it is becoming more frequent in the 21st century. There are creative, practical, and financial reasons why films are divided into multiple parts, and it is ultimately up to the filmmakers to decide whether or not it is necessary for their story.
Films have been split into multiple parts over the history of cinema. This is not a new concept, but it is becoming more frequent as the world of cinema evolves. Splitting a film into several parts started as serials, usually between 10–30-minute chapters. As this concept progressed, longer films (like three to four hours) would have intermissions in between, so the audience could get up and stretch or refill their snacks/drinks. In the 21st century, big-budget films are splitting their movies into at least two parts. This is especially true with novels adapted into films, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or The Hobbit.
There is a big difference between films being split up and sequels. Sequels typically have a time skip (typically a year skip) between the events of their predecessor and the events that happen in the sequel. A movie split in two continues almost directly after the ending of part one, with very little time skipped. Some novel adaptations (mostly the last book) get split into two parts simply because there is too much content for one film. But what are the biggest reasons blockbuster films are divided into multiple parts? These are always the three main reasons: creative, practical, and financial intentions.
Creativity has a huge role in making anything—books, movies, artwork, etc. Whenever a film gets split into multiple parts, one of the main reasons for this could be the creative direction. This means that the film is split up intentionally for story purposes. A great example of this is the next Mission: Impossible installment. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning will be released on July 12 as part one of a two-part movie.
The movie’s filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie and the leading actor, Tom Cruise, were both in agreement that they felt good about the film, but it was too long. McQuarrie himself said, “We realized we had a movie that was two hours, 40 minutes long. And every scene in it was necessary.” He thinks of the Mission: Impossible movies as 20-minute segments, so he took out the last 40 minutes for part one. He knew what the ending for part one was and what the beginning for part two was.
Dune Part Two is another great example of splitting a movie because of the creative direction. The 2021 film Dune is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science-fiction novel of the same name. Back in March 2018, director Denis Villeneuve stated that it was his goal to adapt the novel into a two-part film series.
He felt the novel was too large and complex for just one movie. So, Dune Part One’s plot is the novel’s first half. Dune Part Tworeleasing on Nov. 3, will cover the rest of the book. Unlike Dead Reckoningsplitting Dune into two parts was the planned creative direction.
Whenever a film becomes too long or overbearing, the easiest way to solve that issue without cutting out too many scenes is to split up the film. Who wants to sit through a three-hour movie without a pee break? Practicality plays one of the biggest roles in splitting up movies. Directors don’t want their audience to go up and leave a film whenever they feel it is needlessly long.
Take Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Versefor example. The Spider-Verse in the comics expands across not only other multiverses but into the separate stories of the spiders like Earth-65 Gwen Stacey. The bigger picture is so complex, and every detail is important. It makes sense that the cinematic Across the Spider-Verse would have a larger story compared to Into the Spider-Verse.
This is also an example of a creative decision, but we cannot ignore the practicality of this reasoning. Think about it like this: the Spider-Verse is an ever-expanding collection of Marvel’s many Earths. We have seen so many Spiders in Across the Spider-Verse already but have only gotten to know a handful of them (like Spider-Punk and Jessica Drew).
Some familiar Spiders, like Spider-Man Noir, have made reappearances, and others are set to return for the next part. Maybe in part two, Beyond the Spider-Versewe will be introduced to more Spiders like Silk or even Mary-Jane’s Spider-Woman. Such a large story would require at least a part two if not multiple parts.
Of course, no production company or director is free from financial gains or losses. Making a film requires some sort of initial budget, and the creators earn money back to offset the cost of production. That all depends on how well a film does at the box office. It is a significant risk to split a movie into multiple parts if it fails to meet box-office expectations.
However, major franchises tend to meet beyond box-office expectations despite not always having the best audience reactions. This is especially the case with longer big-budget franchises. In some cases, multiple parts are a blatant cash grab. But with most, there is a clear love that goes into a franchise, and everyone wants it to end with something incredible. Let’s talk about the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise: Fast X.
Fast X is part one of what was believed to be a two-part finale. But actor Vin Diesel recently stated that the film is the beginning of a trilogy ending. That statement has yet to be confirmed by Universal Pictures. If this is true, would they be financially able to make a trilogy? It is very possible.
The first part of Fast X had a budget of over $340 million, making it the most expensive Fast & Furious movie and one of the most expensive movies ever made. The film must make roughly $850 million to hit its benchmark. With the franchise’s popularity, you would think that hitting that mark wouldn’t be too difficult to manage. So far, the film has grossed more than $650 million worldwide. A trilogy may not be the smartest idea, but it might be worth the risk to Universal Pictures for financial gain.