Lionsgate has decided to make two films from “Allegiant,” the final book in Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy — following the same strategy it used for the “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” franchises.
The second “Allegiant” film will open on March 24, 2017. Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns made the announcement Friday morning during an interview on CNBC.
“Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, launched on March 21 with a $54 million opening weekend in the U.S. It has generated a cumulative $117 million domestically in three weeks and another $22 million from international markets, where the rollout began a week ago.
The second film, “Insurgent,” opens on March 20, 2015, and the first “Allegiant” movie will open March 16, 2016.
The move was not a surprise. Burns told Variety last month, “Assuming the movie works as we expect, we like the idea of a ‘Divergent’ film every March to complement our ‘Hunger Games’ films every November.”
“Divergent” was produced for $85 million and greenlit in December 2012 with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon producing with Pouya Shabazian. Neil Burger directed the tale of a dystopian Chicago in the 22nd Century.
Production on “Insurgent” starts in May in Atlanta with “Red” director Robert Schwentke, selected after Burger opted out due to the compressed schedule. Wick, Fisher and Shabazian are producing again.
Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger said in a statement that the move make sense, given that the studio used a similar strategy for the “Twiilight” and “Hunger Games” franchises.
“Veronica Roth brings her captivating story to a masterful conclusion in ‘Allegiant,’ a rich, action-packed book with material that is ideally suited to two strong and fulfilling movies,” the execs said. “The storytelling arc and world of the characters lend themselves perfectly to two films, a storytelling strategy that has worked very well for us on the two ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn’ films and about which we’re tremendously enthusiastic for the two upcoming ‘Mockingjay’films of ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise.”
The “Mockingjay” films open in November of this year and 2015.