Making multiple films together. Normally Hollywood waits until it knows it's got a hit before ordering up a sequel, but that approach has problems. If they're lucky, the original writers will have left Sequel Hooks, but the seams will still be visible, and they've got to get the original cast back together.
It's so much simpler to make the sequel before the first film is released. The stories can be written to fit together smoothly, and none of the cast are going to disappear, or demand more money. In the case of film adapting books, this can lead to Divided for Adaptation. See also Two-Part Trilogy.
All the varieties are often sold as Boxed Sets on home video.
Movie multipacks come in several varieties:
Following a hit film with a two-pack of sequels, to complete the trilogy. The two sequels are usually released close to each other and form a distinct arc, often with a Cliffhanger at the end of the first sequel. Examples (not counting Trilogy Creeps) include:
- Avatar: Avatar: The Way of Water, about two-thirds of the third film and one third of the fourth were filmed together.
- Back to the Future: Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III.
- Halloween: Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends were filmed together.
- The Matrix: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
- Spider-Man: Spider-Verse: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Spider Man Beyond The Spider Verse. Originally intended as one film, the sequel grew into a two-part film and then two distinct films.
Non-movie examples include:
- Starting with Survivor 41, Survivor films seasons back-to-back in pairs, with the second season of the pair typically finishing up filming by the time the first starts airing. This was initially a COVID-era consideration, but stuck around as it was useful for simplifying production. On camera, this filming technique is noticeable in how the unpopular "Earn the Merge" twist appeared in both 41 and 42, as the producers couldn't incorporate feedback and remove it until 43.
- Medarot 3 and Medarot 4 were developed concurently and released within six months of each other, after a two-year gaps between the previous Medabots games.
One story in N parts
When the story is too long to fit in just one part it can be split over several films, all but the last typically ending in a Cliffhanger. Examples:
- Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — The two films form a two-part story that caps off the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point, with the first movie ending on a major cliffhanger. They were originally marketed as Infinity War: Parts One and Two before being given separate titles to avoid the impression of this trope.
- Days of Betrayal
- Death Note
- Dune (or Dune: Part One) by Denis Villeneuve covers only half of the book with the sequel, Dune: Part Two, covering the other half. It aims at avoiding the problem of the 1984 version condensing too much of the story and abusing narration Time Skip.
- Netflix's Fear Street trilogy was shot all at the same time, with each film being released one week apart.
- The French Revolution (1989)
- Horizon: An American Saga (2024)
- Ivan the Terrible — Sergei Eisenstein made the two films back-to-back. He intended to make a third film, but the meddling of Josef Stalin and his death prevented this.
- Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources
- Kill Bill
- The Lord of the Rings
- For the Mission: Impossible film series, there's Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) and its 2025 follow-up. It was to be "Two sequels for the price of one" but the COVID-19 Pandemic delayed the filming of Part Two, and then further complications led to said Part Two being delayed again, retitled and retooled.
- Sacha Guitry's Napoléon (1955)
- Rebel Moon. Two parts have been filmed together and will be released four months apart in 2023-2024.
- Superman and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut — Written as a 5-hour epic, shot as two movies, though the second was mostly reshot after its director was fired and a restoration as close as possible to a Director's Cut was assembled in 2006.
- Often happens with adaptations of The Three Musketeers:
- The Three Musketeers (France, 1932)
- The Three Musketeers (France, 1961)
- The Three Musketeers (US/UK, 1973) — Even though this version was shot as one film, it was eventually released as two. This resulted in its director (Richard Lester) getting sued by some of its cast, who had only been paid for one film and felt they should have been paid for two.
- The Three Musketeers (France, 2023)
String of stories
Particularly with book adaptations, the story may naturally come as a multi-volume epic. Each individual film has closure, not a cliffhanger, but together they form a greater whole. Some adaptations have also been subjected to the above "One story in N parts" phenomenon by splitting a book into two films, essentially doubling down on this trope. Examples:
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was divided into two films released in 2010 and 2011, and popularized this approach for adaptations of YA literature.
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn was adapted as two films.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was split into two films.
- Divergent. In this case, adapting the final book Allegiant into two films resulted in disaster when the first part flopped at the box office. Lionsgate intended to produce Ascendant as a TV movie and/or miniseries to resolve the cliffhanger, but lead actress Shailene Woodley dropped out as it wasn't what she was hired to do, and the plans were ultimately cancelled.
- It: The story alternates between two different time periods: the Loser kids' childhood and adulthood. Andrés Muschietti divides the book into two films: It Chapter One focuses on the Losers' childhood, and It: Chapter Two mostly focuses on their adulthood (with flashbacks to their childhood not seen in Chapter One).
- After X premiered at the 2022 SXSW festival, director Ti West revealed that a prequel called Pearl was shot in secret alongside it. Pearl premiered some six months after X. Not long after, a third film called MaXXXine was announced to create a thematic trilogy, but that film was not filmed parallel to the other two.
Easy Foreign Remakes
In the early days of sound films, it was common to shoot alternate-language versions of films while the original was still being produced. These films would use new actors and production crews, but take advantage of all the sets and costumes that the main film had created, often filming at night when the main film has done shooting for the day. Although offered less time and resources to work with, these remakes often retain a cult following as they often received less censorship and executive oversight than the originals, on top of the fact that these films often took advantage of being filmed after the main version to actively improve upon it.
Now that dubbing films is easy and cheap, this practice has largely been done away with, although the occasional exception does pop up every so often.
- The most famous example of this practice was with Dracula (1931), which received a Spanish language version that was filmed at night using the same sets and costumes, named Drácula. Although the English version is more famous (certainly helped by it being well-preserved, in contrast to Drácula being lost media until the 1970s), a number of critics consider the Spanish version to be superior.
- Hal Roach restaged or refilmed a number of his comedy shorts in Spanish, French and/or German. Most notably, several Laureland Hardy films survive with the duo phonetically reciting their lines in languages they didn't speak.
- 1956's The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a French version and an English version shot simultaneously.
- In the world of modern Reality Television, both The Traitors and The Traitors US were filmed consecutively at the same location (Ardross Castle), and use the same challenges.