'Divergent' Targets the Olympics

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by Anne Thompson
February 20, 2014 4:27 PM
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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? 

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