Move underlines aim to lead in young-adult genre

Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment banner has set a March 21, 2014, release date for a portential franchise starter “Divergent” — even though it has not signed a director or cast yet.

Wednesday’s announcement said the decision to date “Divergent” is part of Lionsgate’s strategy to lead in the young-adult genre, noting that Summit’s four “Twilight” films have topped $2.5 billion in worldwide gross and that “The Hunger Games” is the 13th highest-grossing North American release of all time.

In February, 2011, Summit closed a deal to acquire film rights to Veronica Roth’s upcoming futuristic novel “Divergent,” with Red Wagon toppers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher attached to produce along with Pouya Shahbazian.

Story centers on a society divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue — Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite — with all 16-year-olds required on a particular day to select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. The female protagonist falls in love during the initiation in the book – the first of a planned trilogy.

Book was published in May, 2011, by Katherine Tegen Books, a division of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Roth followed her first novel with the book “Insurgent” and both have sold nearly 1.5 million copies.

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