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 three 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 include:
- Back to the Future: Part II and Part III.
- Halloween: Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends were filmed together.
- The Matrix: Reloaded and Revolutions.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End.
- Avatar's sequels, starting with Avatar: The Way of Water and the third film.
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:
- 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.
- Often happens with adaptations of The Three Musketeers:
- The Three Musketeers (1961)
- The Three Musketeers (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 (2023) — The upcoming French production due to release in 2023.
- Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources
- Kill Bill
- 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.
- Death Note
- The Lord of the Rings
- 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.
- Dune by Denis Villeneuve covers only half of the book with the planned sequel 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.
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was originally announced as a two-part film, but after being delayed, Sony announced that Part Two has been renamed to Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse and Across the Spider-Verse will be only one film. Both films will still have the same creative teams as each other.
- For the Mission: Impossible film series, there's Dead Reckoning Part One due to release in 2023 and Dead Reckoning Part Two due to release in 2024. It was to be "Two sequels for the price of one" but the COVID-19 Pandemic changed those plans.
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
- The Hunger Games: 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 and It: Chapter Two; the novel alternates between two time periods, which the films divide into two mostly distinct movies.
- After X premiered at the 2022 SXSW festival, director Ti West revealed that a prequel called Pearl was shot in secret alongside it.