Movie studio Lionsgate recently announced the titles of their forthcoming films based on “Allegiant,” Veronica Roth’s final book in her “Divergent” trilogy.
The second film in the series, “Insurgent,” was released this past March. The first of the final two films, now titled “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” will be released this coming March with the last film in the movie series, now titled “The Divergent Series: Ascendant,” to follow in the spring of 2017.
The “Divergent” film series is based on the trilogy by Roth, which centers on a girl named Tris (Shailene Woodley) who lives in a dystopian version of Chicago where people are sorted into factions based on their character traits. The films co-star Theo James, Miles Teller, and Kate Winslet.
For fans of young adult book series adapted as movies, the decision to split the final book into two movies will come as anything but a surprise. The idea went high-profile with the “Harry Potter” franchise, where the last book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” was split into two films. Since then, fellow franchises like “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” have followed suit. This can lead to some wordy titles, as with the upcoming movie “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.” Perhaps the title change for the “Divergent” movies is an attempt to avoid the extra punctuation.
With the release of the upcoming "Mockingjay” movie, one of the most lucrative young adult book series adaptations ever is coming to a close. The “Divergent” movie series has done well but its domestic gross has not come close to the numbers of “Harry” or “Hunger Games.” While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” was the second-highest-grossing movie domestically of 2014, “Divergent” was far below that at number 19. While the yearly domestic gross numbers for 2015 obviously have plenty of time to change, “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” is currently at number 16.
In order for a young adult book series adaptation to gross “Harry” or “Hunger Games"-like numbers, it would need to have the zeitgeist-dominating power that those two series had. “Twilight” was also a cultural phenomenon in its time and did accordingly well at the box office, grossing numbers that were in the league of “Harry” and “Hunger Games” (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” actually topped “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” at the domestic box office).
“Divergent” is a popular book series but didn’t dominate pop culture during the time that it was published, nor did the books that were the basis of current movie franchise “The Maze Runner” or the upcoming film “The 5th Wave.” To create a hit of "Potter" or "Hunger Games" magnitude, Hollywood may have to wait for another book series – one with the power to entice teens and adults alike even as it becomes a dominant part of popular culture.