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Segmenting movies is a cheap ploy

Credit: Josh Smith/jjs1 Credit: Josh Smith/jjs1
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Now, I know you all have Nov. 18 at the forefront of your minds: the day the general public will be bestowed with the latest theatrical segment of the Twilight saga. However, you should remember to mark Nov. 16, 2012 in your calendar as well. Why? Because this is when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will be released, truly bringing an end to this tale of mythological romance and to Hot Topic’s relevancy.

Creating two films based on a singular episode of a preexisting franchise is a growing trend in Hollywood. The Harry Potter movie series recently reached its grand conclusion, splitting the final tome, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, into two smaller narratives released almost eight months apart.

Next year, we see Peter Jackson’s recreation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit on the silver screen. However, to see the story from start to finish, you will have to wait until 2013 to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again, based on the second half of the novel.

This trend in Hollywood seems to stick to a certain genre. By reincarnating every comic superhero in existence or creating films with large production values, amazing effects, and little-to-no depth (known in the industry as “Michael Bay-ing”), film studios seem to lean toward the fantasy genre to make profitable movies.

Stories in this genre, ripe with intricate plots and characters, often require a lot of time to tell the full story. In some instances, the only feasible way to tell this story and maintain its integrity is by splitting the film into multiple parts.

Knowing that the movie industry, like any other, exists to make a profit, one could come to another conclusion. When a film studio recognizes that a loyal fan base will do anything to see the conclusion of a franchise, it may very well exploit that by dividing what chapters are left in the series into multiple parts. Thus you, as a loyal fan, are paying twice as much to see a single story that could have been formatted to fit in a single film.

I don’t deny that increased profit may inspire studios to split films, yet I feel that the amount of content these films convey is the primary reason for this practice. One of my favorite pair of films that happens to support this is Kill Bill. While not based on any preexisting source, it’s known that writer and director Quentin Tarantino always intended to have a sole film. However, it would have been over four hours, so it was split into two volumes, allowing the epic to stay intact.

As fans, we want to experience the best possible version of a story that a film studio can create. This may require splitting a singular story into multiple movies, so long as the content maintains its spirit and appeal.

With this noted, film studios are accountable for their actions. If it takes two more movies to resolve the love triangle between a girl, a vampire, and a guy without a shirt, then it better be worth it.