Riding the young adult wave that started with the blockbusting The Hunger Games, the Divergent franchise was Lionsgate’s attempt at cashing in on that demonstrably lucrative market – and it came closer than anyone else with its three attempts.
Unfortunately for both the studio and fans of the franchise not nearly close enough because the movies based on the popular trilogy by author Veronica Roth started out poor and didn’t get any better. That lead to diminishing box office returns and the final nail in the coffin for the movie franchise was the poor box office performance of the third movie – Allegiant – with the studio, in a blatant attempt to milk their franchise chicken before it hatched in a china shop while not reading the writing on the wall, also deciding to split the third book into two movies.
The proposed fourth movie, Ascendant, was shelved and this lead to fans of the movies being denied a proper ending after investing their time into the franchise – something we’ve all experienced at some point with movies or TV series that we’ve enjoyed, and that we can all agree is incredibly frustrating when it happens.
Divergent director Neil Burger recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter saying that what’s happened with the franchise is “sad” and:
I was just talking to the people at Lionsgate about something else recently, and it’s just that they got themselves into a difficult bind through various circumstances. … I don’t think they feel like they should’ve split [the last book] into two [films]. If they hadn’t, they would’ve been in much better shape, but at the time I’m sure they were excited and they saw some potential there.
It’s just too bad because I love all those actors, and they were very loyal to it. They’re (the studio) still really trying to figure out what they’re gonna do with it.
For those that haven’t been keeping up with the news, the plan is to continue the franchise on the small screen with a TV movie to tie up the story and then, possibly, launch a spin-off series; something stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller have been less than enthusiastic about.
However it’s something Burger believes could be a success should fans approach it with an open mind:
The expectations of the fans who come with it — that’s a real advantage in a way, because you have a built-in audience, and it’s always hard to find an audience these days, but of course, they have big expectations. … And any kind of adaptation — and you’ve seen it with all of these franchises — the books are built in one way and the movie has certain obligations in a different way. They’re often difficult to meet at the same time.
He concluded with:
People show up if the project is good.
No they don’t, not always. Plenty of good projects have failed horribly because people just haven’t shown up, and Lionsgate have a lot to prove when it comes to this franchise following a trio of lacklustre movies.
What do you think?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.
Last Updated: October 19, 2016