Young adult novel adaptations have plenty of potential to make it big at the box office, with stories that are palatable for children and teens whilst also appealing to older audiences. For every Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, however, there’s a Beautiful Creatures or an Ender’s Game to act as a reminder that such movies aren’t always a guaranteed success.
Despite these cautionary tales, however, Lionsgate is already confident that Divergent, the upcoming adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian sci-fi novel, is going to be a big hit. The studio is so convinced, in fact, that two sequels have already been given the green light and have release dates set for 2015 and 2016.
According to the latest predictions at THR, however, Lionsgate might be correct in feeling so confident. Divergent is apparently tracking on par with the first Twilight film – even better in certain categories, including higher scores among both young females and young males – and may well end up matching Twilight‘s opening weekend box office take of $69.6 million. Others predict that Divergent‘s opening will be closer to $65 million, but THR emphasizes that “no one is taking any bets.” This release could end up going either way.
Divergent stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), who plays a young woman called Tris about to come of age in a society segregated into factions according to the results of a personality test that everyone takes at the end of their adolescence. Those whose results show that their personality is too complex (i.e. that they have a mix of bravery or compassion, instead of purely one or the other) are considered to be extremely dangerous and have to hide their individuality or be hunted down.
Not having read the book, it’s unclear whether this premise makes more sense when explained in full, but it certainly doesn’t come across very clearly in the latest TV spot for Divergent. You’d be forgiven for coming away from the trailers thinking that Tris has some kind of psychic superpowers, though perhaps that was the intention. Getting mixed results on a personality test is kind of lame as far as special abilities go.
At the end of the day, however, Divergent does look like it could draw in teens who feel like they don’t fit in with society, and it has a beautiful young couple making gooey eyes at each other as part of the main plot. Don’t be surprised if that’s enough for it to do reasonably well at the box office.
Divergent opens in U.S. theaters on March 21, 2014.