It’s no secret that Lionsgate/Summit’s Divergent franchise wouldn’t exist without copying the formula for success that previous YA book-to-movie series Twilight and The Hunger Games concocted. They’re pulling out all the derivative stops now—or adding one, as it were—as the studios announced Veronica Roth’s third novel, Allegiant, will be split into two pieces, just like they did with the Twilight and Hunger Games finales. The first part will be released on Allegiant‘s previously announced date of March 18, 2016, while the second segment’s will follow on March 24, 2017.
In a stunning reveal, however, Lionsgate/Summit co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger announced this move is solely for art’s sake, and has nothing to do with milking more money out of the growing fanbase…(pause for extended laughter)…No, they’re certainly just cutting a cash cow in half and hoping each side turns into a whole, though they can’t be so up front about it. They want to pretend they give a crap about artistic integrity.
“The storytelling arc and world of the characters lend themselves perfectly to two films,” said Friedman and Wachsberger (via Deadline), “a storytelling strategy that has worked very well for us on the two Twilight: Breaking Dawn films and about which we’re tremendously enthusiastic for the two upcoming Mockingjay films of The Hunger Games franchise.” It’s worked well for THEM, sure, but not necessarily moviegoers who don’t want to see stories arbitrarily stretched out for financial reasons. I guess the argument could be made that the more money that this franchise takes in, the more the studio can invest in smaller-scale projects, but it’s still a wishy-washy tactic.
This news comes as Neil Berger’s Divergent heads into its fourth week of release, having taken in $117 million domestically with a global total of $139 million. Made on an $85 million budget, while it will almost certainly come out ahead in the end, this hasn’t exactly been a mind-blowing success. I’m sure they’re hoping for something bigger with Robert Schwentke’s second installment, Insurgent, which is set to go into production next month, with a March 2015 release date already set. The first film raised awareness for the books, so it will almost certainly make a bigger box office dent with the sequel, but it has to be good enough to keep people interested for another two years. I’m probably giving audiences too much credit here.
It’s hard to talk about the story of Allegiant without giving away parts of Insurgent, so just expect Tris and Four to find out more secrets about their past, which unlocks an entirely different future for them. Excitement! Intrigue! Kisses!
Are you guys excited or dismayed that we’ll probably be talking about the Divergent series for another three years?