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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Mockingjay," the final film installment of the blockbuster book series, "The Hunger Games," will be split into two parts, with the movies to be released in 2014 and 2015, the Lionsgate studio said on Tuesday.
Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment, said "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" will hit theaters on November 21, 2014, and "Part 2" on November 20, 2015.
"The Hunger Games" film franchise is based on a best-selling science-fiction trilogy by author Suzanne Collins and follows the story of rebel heroine Katniss Everdeen, who tries to fight the oppressive regime ruling the nation of Panem.
The first film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, smashed box office records with its release in March and has became a pop culture hit with ticket sales of $678 million worldwide.
The second installment of the film, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," is set for release on November 23, 2013 and will be directed by Francis Lawrence.
The splitting of the final film into two parts follows the pattern of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" franchises, which were also in two parts and released roughly a year apart from each other.
Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Kenneth Barry