We’ve all heard the news that Allegiant, the 3rd book in the franchise, has been picked up by Lionsgate but is being split into two movies. I know when I heard the news I was on the fence. My reactions were somewhere in between “Really, is there enough book for that?” and “Yay more Divergent!” Lionsgate head honchos open up to The Hollywood Reporter about their reasons for the split.
Divergent has crossed $250 million globally, but that still is far less than the first Twilight ($393 million) or The Hunger Games ($691 million). Is that enough for a franchise?
WACHSBERGER: It’s fantastic. We have established a franchise, no question. You cannot use Twilight as a barometer every time. We broke the curse of the young adult films. I mean, $150 million domestically is not chopped liver. The book wasn’t so well established internationally. But when we started marketing the movie overseas, the book sales went through the roof, and the drop for the film from week-to-week has been very small.
FRIEDMAN: Divergent is digging in as a franchise, and so we’re very excited about it; not only its performance as the first film but from a real-life perspective and what we see as trajectory. The movie was released in a uniquely competitive environment.
Will you market next year’s sequel, Insurgent, differently?
FRIEDMAN: It’s obviously a different story, and we don’t have to start from ground zero, explaining what Divergent is all about. The second film has a lot more action in it, so we’ll take it in a different direction.
Given the tepid reviews for the third book, Allegiant, why the decision to split it into two films?
FRIEDMAN: We obviously did it with Twilight, and we’ve done it with Hunger Games. One of the things we find in the last book is that a lot of ends have to be wrapped up. They tend to be very dense. We felt the same way about Allegiant. There was more than enough material there to make two substantial, satisfying films.