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'Divergent' Targets the Olympics

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 20, 2014 at 4:27PM

Lionsgate/Summit is targeting the Winter Olympics audience with a 60 second preview Thursday night for new franchise hopeful "Divergent" (March 21). I say hopeful because the materials on this movie do not show how romantic it is--they're targeting men with action.
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Shailene Woodley in 'Divergent'
Shailene Woodley in 'Divergent'

Lionsgate/Summit is targeting the Winter Olympics audience with a 60 second preview Thursday night for new franchise hopeful "Divergent" (March 21). I say hopeful because the materials on this movie do not show how romantic it is--they're targeting men with action. But the reason Lionsgate's "Hunger Games" series is so successful--despite a young woman action hero --is that everything Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) does is motivated by her love and concern for her family. She's protecting them--and eventually--trying to act on behalf of the disenfranchised people of Panem. 

Lionsgate/Summit's materials show Shailene Woodley as fierce Tris Prior, who chooses to leave her family to become a fighter in the Dauntless faction. I wonder if this movie backs up her ferocity, as the Veronica Roth book does. The book balances a portrait of an unforgiving dystopian world (its leader is played by Kate Winslet) with a powerful romance between Tris and Four (Theo James), her trainer. 

Why spend so much money on an Olympic spot? Lionsgate/Summit is invested in this launch--they've already committed to a sequel with a different director, Rob Schwentke ("Red"), replacing the first, Neil Burger. Wouldn't they have kept him if they were happy with the results? 

This article is related to: Divergent, Lionsgate, Summit, Summit Entertainment, Summit, Shailene Woodley


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.