After the explosive box office success of Lionsgate’s Hunger Games installments, the company has a lot riding on their latest action-packed property aimed at teens: Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. The studio, which will release Divergent through its Summit brand, must be very confident with the book sales and quality of the first film, due out on March 21, 2014, since they have announced today that its sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, will come out in consecutive years during March. Insurgent has a March 20, 2015 release date, while Allegiant will hit theatres on March 18, 2016, if all goes according to plan.
However, Divergent‘s director, Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist), will not return to direct Insurgent. According to Summit, Burger could not helm the second film due to scheduling problems.
“Neil Burger is a rock star and he is doing a fantastic job on Divergent. We can’t wait for you to see the film,” the statement says. “But as amazing as Neil is he still cannot be in two places at once and thus needs to finish post production on Divergent while we gear up to start production on Insurgent.”
Instead, Burger plans to stay on the last two films as an executive producer, which isn’t all that surprising as he is far from the first director to drop out of a franchise based on massive young-adult novels. Gary Ross helmed the first Hunger Games before departing and Catherine Hardwicke made the first Twilight film but did not return for any of the other installments.
In Divergent, Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice Prior, who is on the cusp of choosing one of five societal factions based on different traits like honesty, bravery and intelligence. However, she does not fit in one single faction, and she tries to hide her ‘divergent’ status at the risk of her own life.
I found Divergent to be an entertaining dystopian thriller, and although I have not read the sequels, I believe that this franchise could be big if book sales increase closer to the film. To date, the first two books have sold around 5 million copies, which is strong, but still quite far from the levels of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter by the time their big screen property came out.
Tell us, are you looking forward to Neil Burger’s upcoming film? Let us know in the comments section below.