Despite looking like a parody of young adult novel movie adaptations, Lionsgate’s Divergent has pulled in $139 million worldwide after a month in theaters, and it’s still being rolled out internationally. Apparently that’s enough to justify moving forward with multiple sequels, but even though author Veronica Roth only penned three books in the series, Lionsgate has found a way to potentially squeeze even more money out of this franchise before it disappears, and by this point, it’s a familiar move: according to a press release, they’re splitting the final book into two films.
Insurgent, the first sequel, starts production next month and will hit theaters in less than a year, on March 20th, 2015, while Allegiant Part 1 will arrive on March 18th, 2016 and Part 2 lands on March 24th, 2017. This annoying trend began with WB and the Harry Potter franchise, splitting Deathly Hallows into two films to keep their cash cow franchise alive for as long as possible. But Lionsgate/Summit has really gone all in on this idea, applying the formula to The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games franchise before setting their sights on the Divergent series.
It’s no surprise that Lionsgate would orchestrate a move like this. But with tepid critical reception to the first film, they’re going to have to hope that audiences keep coming back for more and don’t get burned out on the young adult movie craze that’s currently sweeping the globe. The only way studios will stop being so openly greedy is if audiences show them that they’re sick of this trend, and the only way that we can do that is by not paying to see these films in theaters. For hardcore fans of the series, I’d imagine this would be akin to telling me to skip the next Marvel movie – basically, it’s not going to happen. So the studios will continue to do this, and will likely continue to churn out less than satisfying films as a result. This definitely won’t be the last time this happens, but until yet another final book is split into two films, you can check out our cast interviews with Divergent stars Shailene Woodley (who I personally think is far too good for this series) and Theo James right here.
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