While it’s unclear whether the latest young adult post-apocalyptic film series, Divergent, will be as big of a hit as The Hunger Games, Summit Entertainment certainly hopes so. Since Lionsgate and Summit merged back in 2012, the studios have been at the forefront of young adult film adaptations, including The Hunger Games, the Twilight saga, and this fall’s Ender’s Game. But even though the first movie isn’t out yet, the studio is already on the hunt to find a director for the sequel.
According to Variety, Summit has announced that director Neil Burger will not be back for round two of Divergent, although they don’t explain the reasons why. This isn’t the first time a director left a new film franchise after its first film. Last year, director Gary Ross left The Hunger Games, paving the way for director Francis Lawrence to take over with this year’s Catching Fire. Of course, Ross left the film franchise after The Hunger Games was already a big success for Lionsgate.
Summit Entertainment also announced Divergent‘s sequels and release dates. Insurgent will be released in March 2015, while the third film, Allegiant, will be released in March 2016. With the quick turnaround for Insurgent, production has to begin on the sequel this spring, as Divergent opens in theaters. Some are speculating that the quick turnaround may have been why Burger couldn’t commit to the production schedule. If Lionsgate and Summit follow The Hunger Games‘ naming scheme, then Divergent‘s sequel would be released as Divergent: Insurgent and Divergent: Allegiant, which sounds tedious and complicated. Hopefully they’ll just stick with the one-word versions.
Neil Burger is a very solid director. He directed the surprise hit Limitless in 2011, as well as The Lucky Ones and the dueling magician movie The Illusionist.
While Divergent isn’t set for release for another three months, Summit Entertainment has been releasing new trailers and posters to get fans excited. A trailer was attached to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and a first-look featurette will be included in The Hunger Games sequel’s home video release.
Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, where people are separated into five distinct factions: Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Citizens are divided based on dominant personality traits, but some people are unique and cannot be classified. These people are called “Divergent” and have no place in society. The story follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley), who must choose to stay with her family in the Abnegation faction or find a new place. When she’s discovered to be Divergent, she must figure out how to stay alive.
Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs) co-wrote the screenplay, while the film stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Tony Goldwyn, Ashley Judd, and Mekhi Phifer as Max.
Divergent will hit theaters everywhere on March 21, 2014, while Insurgent is set for release on March 20, 2015 and Allegiant will open nationwide on March 18, 2016.