In a sign of confidence about the prospects for the “Divergent” franchise, Lionsgate is bringing back “Insurgent” director Robert Schwentke to direct the third film in the franchise, officially titled “The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1.”
Schwentke is in post-production on “Insurgent,” which wrapped in September in Atlanta and has a March 20 release date. The German director, whose credits include “Flightplan,” “Red” and “R.I.P.D.,” took on the “Insurgent” gig early this year after “Divergent” director Neil Burger had opted out due to the compressed schedule.
Lionsgate saw solid returns from “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, with $151 million domestically and another $138 million internationally.
“Allegiant: Part 1” will be released on March 18, 2016, followed by “Part 2” a year later.
Lionsgate decided in April 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.
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The story is set in a dystopian world in which people are divided into five separate factions and those who are “Divergent” are hunted and killed by the ruthless leaders of the Erudite faction. After the rising conflicts in “Insurgent,” Woodley’s character faces impossible choices about courage, allegiance and love.
Besides Woodley and James, returning cast members include Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer and Zoe Kravitz. Noah Oppenheim, whose credits include “Maze Runner,” is writing the script.
Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are return to produce through their Red Wagon Entertainment banner. Erik Feig and Gillian Bohrer will be overseeing the project for Lionsgate’s Summit label.
The release of “Divergent” has helped fuel book sales, which have gone from 17 million when the film was released in March to more than 30 million. Online fans have tripled during that period to more than 6 million.
Schwentke is repped by CAA, manager Jen Killoran at LBI, and attorney Karl Austen at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer. Oppenheim is repped by CAA.
Robert Melnik and Patricia Laucella negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate.