Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The final Divergent film will be split in two. Groan!

It’s the law. But is the franchise really that valuable?

Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 18:22


We have become used to this ploy over the last few years. First the Harry Potter team then the Twilight mob took the cynical decision to split adaptations of the relevant last novels of each sequence into two parts. Then The Hunger Games followed suit. It struck me that — activating one of Zeno’s paradoxes — studios might begin asymptotically splitting each final part into nested pairs for all eternity. They haven’t taken me up on that idea. But the last-section split has become a convention. Now we learn that Lionsgate is to bifurcate Allegiant, the closing episode of that studio’s take on Veronica Roth’s dystopian Divergent sequence.

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This is a slightly weird one. To put it simply, the first part really hasn’t done all that brilliantly. It opened very strongly in the United States, but it didn’t follow-up with any great fireworks in later weeks. And it has yet to register significantly in other territories. At time of writing, It sits at $175 million, which is not chump change, but, to put things in perspective, that is still less than half of what The Golden Compass took in its entire run. You will recall that the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s great His Dark Materials didn’t even make it to part two. If the superficially similar The Hunger Games is any guide, Divergent will probably continue to under-perform overseas.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that the Divergent people look to be getting a bit ahead of themselves here. The hope is that — as is often the way these days — the sequels will make successively greater wads. But this does look a little like a matter of schoolyard pride. We just can’t be seen to look small in the eyes of our competitors.