×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Divergent’ Director Neil Burger Won’t Do Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

Lionsgate's 'Divergent' follow-up 'Insurgent' set to open March 20, 2015

Divergent” director Neil Burger will not helm “Insurgent,” the second title in Lionsgate’s upcoming young-adult franchise, and the studio has set the sequel for a March 20, 2015, release.

Burger is currently in post-production for “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley, for a March 21, 2014, release and Lionsgate is currently seeking another director for “Insurgent.”

The March, 2015, release date requires that production start this spring. Lionsgate also announced Monday that the third film, “Allegiant,” will be released a year later on March 18, 2016.

The “Divergent” franchise — released via its Summit brand — is viewed as a key to Lionsgate’s strategy to lead in the young-adult genre. Summit’s five “Twilight” films have topped $3.3 billion in worldwide grosses and Lionsgate’s  first two “Hunger Games” have pulled in over $1.4 billion.

Lionsgate also had to find a new director for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Gary Ross directed “The Hunger Games,” which opened in March, 2012, then decided against directing the second film, citing a compressed production schedule. Francis Lawrence directed “Catching Fire” and is currently on the two “Mockingjay” titles in the “Hunger Games” franchise, which are already being shot back-to-back in Atlanta and will be released in November, 2014 and November, 2015.

In February, 2011, Summit closed a deal to acquire film rights to Veronica Roth’s futuristic novel “Divergent” with Red Wagon toppers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher attached to produce along with Pouya Shahbazian. Lionsgate then bought Summit early last year and signed “Limitless” helmer Burger to direct several months later.

“Divergent” also stars Theo James, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet. Set in a dystopian Chicago, the  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 life of the female protagonist Beatrice Prior (Woodley) changes dramatically when she switches factions.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told Wall Street analysts in May that owning “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” gives the company a catalyst in launching other properties. He noted that “Divergent” has been dated for release on the same slot used last year for the release of “The Hunger Games” and that the books have racked up strong sales.

“Divergent” was published in 2011, followed by “Insurgent” in 2012 and “Allegiant” in October.

UPDATE – Summit has issued a statement saying that scheduling issues have precluded Burger from directing “Insurgent”:

“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.  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.  So, although Neil will continue on as part of our Divergent family as an executive producer, we sadly have to find another director for the next chapter in Veronica Roth’s fantastic series.”

 

More Film

  • Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the

    Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the Mayor'

    Sophomore director Nicolas Pariser follows his politically engaged debut, “The Great Game,” with an even deeper plunge into the disconnect between political theory and the workings of government in the unmistakably French “Alice and the Mayor.” Deeply influenced by Eric Rohmer in the way it aspires to use philosophical dialogue to reveal something about the [...]

  • 'Diego Maradona' Review: The Football Legend

    Cannes Film Review: 'Diego Maradona'

    You expect the director of a biographical documentary to have a passion for whoever he’s making a movie about. But the British filmmaker Asif Kapadia spins right past passion and into obsession. He doesn’t just chronicle a personality — he does an immersive meditation on it. Kapadia plunges into the raw stuff of journalism: news [...]

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

  • Dutch FilmWorks Moves into International Sales

    Dutch Film Works Moves into International Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A major new international sales outfit is coming to market. Dutch Film Works (DFW), one of the largest movie distributors in the Benelux region, is moving into film and TV sales. DFW general manager Angela Pruijssers will spearhead the sales effort alongside Charlotte Henskens, who will join from Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, where she is director [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content