By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 11, 2014 at 12:38PM
No one is surprised that Lionsgate/Summit motion picture chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger have opted to follow the same template innovated by Warner Bros. for the "Harry Potter" finale, which Lionsgate and Summit also used for their "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" series, which have collectively grossed $5 billion at the worldwide box office. Not only does the studio commit to an ongoing production--which is the closest the movie companies come to episodic television, allowing fans to invest in the creation of a world over time--and hang on to beloved actors over a series of films, but "Divergent" is now extending the life of its "trilogy" by splitting the final book "Allegiant" into two halves.
This puts 7th studio Lionsgate in the catbird seat among its larger rivals, which rely on lucrative franchises to stay alive. "Allegiant -- Part 1" will be released on Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment Label On March 18, 2016, with "Allegiant -- Part 2" to arrive in national theaters on March 24, 2017, while "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is the 10th highest-grossing film of all time. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Parts 1 & 2" will be released on November 21, 2014 and November 20, 2015, respectively.
Like the first film "Divergent," which has so far earned a modest $117 million domestic at a negative cost of $80 million, "Allegiant" will also star breakouts Shailene Woodley and Theo James. It's based on the third book in Veronica Roth's best-selling "Divergent trilogy." Thus Lionsgate/Summit will release a total of four "Divergent" films on its Summit Entertainment label, with the next film, "Insurgent," which begins production next month, slated for release on March 20, 2015 and "Allegiant -- Parts 1 & 2" scheduled for release on March 18, 2016, and March 24, 2017, respectively.
"Divergent" continues its international rollout this weekend with openings in France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Scandinavia and other major territories. Book sales of the best-selling series total almost 20 million worldwide and sales of the three-book boxed set and three-book e-bundle increased 55% last week. The three books ranked one-two-three on the USA Today best-seller list for 2013.
The synopsis is below:
After the cataclysmic events in Insurgent, Tris and Four enter a dangerous new world in Allegiant -- Parts 1 & 2 that they no longer recognize. As new truths are revealed about the past and future, Tris must face impossible choices about courage, allegiance and love to protect the people closest to her.