More than a week since its initial release and Gavin Hood's “Ender's Game”, starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford has suffered a strange type of purgatorial reception— recognizable to many, including its younger sci-fi target audience, but thus far resisting an actual pull into the theatres. Taking in $41 million worldwide thus far, the Orson Scott Card adaptation is by no means a failure, but as a recent year-end call between Lionsgate executives and shareholders shows, the format of the franchise may need to change before we witness any further installments.
During the year-end conference call for Lionsgate, the question of “Ender's Game”—one of their biggest properties, with sequel material in the form of Card's 13 book sequels calling—seemed to carry some hesitation with it. Variety reports (via SlashFilm) that Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said over the weekend that although the film had performed “virtually on base” with internal expectations, his company still plans to “wait another week or two” before locking any decisions. And more notably, he revealed that an “Ender's Game” TV spinoff was under deliberation as well.
With their “Hunger Games” film continuing to perform insanely strongly and the “Divergent” adaptations hoping to match its success next year, Lionsgate are not in desperate demand of a franchise; however, from its moodier tone and decidedly downplayed sci-fi narrative, “Ender's Game” could represent a different sort of stylistic success for the company. And while we weren't entirely thrilled with Hood's first entry, one of its problems was an extremely rushed plot—an aspect that could remedy itself easily with a small-screen version.