What happened
The seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will be split into two separate films, the films' producer said this week. The $4.5-billion franchise has produced five films to date, each corresponding to a book in the series, with the sixth to be released in November 2008. "Unlike every other book," said David Heyman, who is producing the movie version of the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, "you cannot remove elements of this book." (Los Angeles Times).

What the commentators say
Harry Potter fans rejoice!" said Peter Sciretta in the movie blog /film. The book is 759 pages long, and Potterphiles have already complained of plot compression in the previous films. "This makes perfect sense."

This makes perfect financial sense — an eighth film is just a "grubby money-maker," said Elisabeth Rappe on Cinematical. Heyman and star Daniel Radcliffe insist that the decision has purely artistic motives, but the seventh book could certainly be shortened, just like the others. Nevertheless, it's nice that they're giving fans a more complete adaptation.

More important than the question of why they're going to divide the book, said Kevin Powers on First Showing, is how they plan to do it. Radcliffe described it as "one driving, pounding story," so how will Heymann, director David Yates, and writer Steve Kloves create two distinct films while preserving the momentum and power of Rowling's original story? "I'd hate to see a stutter-start to the series' powerful conclusion," and hope that they can achieve a "complete, satisfying end."