I don’t know if you’ve been noticing lately, but way too many intellectual properties that have been made into movies are now stretching how many movies are being made for the simple goal of getting more money out of the movie public. It was the sort of thing that caused the last book in the Harry Potter franchise to somehow “need” to be stretched into two movies. Then they did it with Twilight. And today, it was announced that the Divergent franchise was going to be doing it with their third movie/book “Allegiant”. Look, I get the idea that more money is better than less money, but sometimes it’s not necessary to make more movies of stories that can easily be told in fewer movies. An example of this is when they decided to stretch the Hobbit into three movies. Keep in mind the Hobbit was one book. But because the Lord of the Rings made so much money for everyone involved, there was no way in the world they were going to limit the next chapter in the franchise to just one profitable movie.
And the franchise has suffered as a result. I know there are people who say they like the Hobbit, but having just watched the second movie, I don’t think it’s hard to come to the conclusion that a lot of that movie really felt like it was just biding time until it could reach the end of the story. They even left it in a cliffhanger ending, almost as if they were trying to figure out what made The Empire Strikes Back such a success for Return of the Jedi and did exactly that. The story arc felt like it was doing EXACTLY the same thing, except without any real resolution like they at least gave you in Empire. In Empire, we did defeat the bad guys long enough to get a breather. They kind of tried to do that with The Desolation of Smog (I know that’s not the correct name, but I’m sticking with it), but to me it fell completely flat. The only thing they didn’t do from the bad writing playbook was have Bilbo fall into a pit and not be able to get back out of it before the train fell into the pit (figured a few cliches belonged in that “cliffhanger” of theirs).
This is becoming a norm with movies these days. It wouldn’t be so bad if the first and second movies were actually full, complete stories, which is one of the cardinal rules of writing a three part series as a writer (you’re not supposed to write just one part of the story and then try to sell the next book…each story needs to have its own conclusion), but we’re getting the lazy writing version of these movies, which is basically just a ploy to get people to want to keep paying money to see a movie franchise each year because the director is too lazy to bring any of the stories to a conclusion.
Today, I saw Captain America 2, and this is a franchise movie that does this sort of thing right. Obviously, they intend to make many more Captain America movies, and they should, but in order to get people interested, they don’t just bait and switch the audience by stopping the story and then saying “hey, give us 8 more dollars, and we’ll tell you what happens next.” Moviegoers need to get a lot more upset over this crappy business process that movie companies are trying to force on us.