The first two Divergent films, set in a post-apocalyptic world, were both box office hits. But the third and most recent film in the franchise, Allegient, opened to a measly $29 million (compared to the first film's $288 million) causing Lionsgate stock to fall. Most fans of the young adult novel-to-film adaptation franchise and critics alike were rather disappointed with the film in general.
As a result, Lionsgate cut the budget for the final planned film in the Divergent series, to be titled Divergent: Ascendant, shortly after the disappointing opening weekend box office for Allegiant. However, according to a new report, that may not be the only change Lionsgate is making in the YA-based series.
According to Variety, Lionsgate will be releasing Ascendant as a TV movie rather than taking it to the big screen as previously planned. The film was set to start production this summer and release in theaters in June of next year. Talks are still in the early stages, but the supposed plan is to have the TV movie eventually launch a spin-off series to wrap up anything and everything Divergent.
Lionsgate’s television group would be handling production of both the television movie and possible spin-off series. The general objective is to somehow conclude the storylines involving the current cast, eventually introducing a new cast in hopes of continuing the series on a network or steaming service. However, there is no word concerning the original cast actually returning to the television movie, or to the franchise at all.
The Divergent series began as successful YA novels, written by Veronica Roth, about a futuristic society living behind a wall of shattered earth. At the age of 16 all citizens must take a test to determine which social-class, or rather "Faction," they naturally belong to. Each faction - Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellectual) - had a specific duty to fulfill within the society. The remaining population are the Factionless, who have no status or privilege at all. And then there are the Divergent, who are rare, but have a bit of each faction's characteristics making them an inherent threat to government control. While the initial concept of factions was unique, most agreed that the films were a bit on the generic side.
While this news is disconcerting, it's still good to know that there is some sort of initiative to properly end the series rather than letting it fall off the grid. Even though Lionsgate has a plan of action, one potential problem still remains: whether the original cast is willing to take a step down to the small screen. We're talking about some pretty big Hollywood names here including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, and Jeff Daniels, most of whom have moved on to other projects.
We’ll keep you updated on Divergent: Ascendant as more information becomes available.