Many of you at this point may not even realize that the Divergent series is still ongoing. Despite the relatively lackluster performance of the first two films — neither of which were particularly good — Lionsgate insisted on not only finishing out the series, but splitting the final book in half. The first half of the final chapter opened in March, and Rebecca’s review suggested that the series should be mercy killed. It went on to make a paltry $66 million stateside and $170 million worldwide, down from the nearly $300 million worldwide the first two films made.
It also scored a miserable 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and there was a reason for that, says Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “Maybe we rushed the third movie a bit instead of taking our time with it. We wanted to hit a date.” The old cart-before-the-horse dance that the second season of True Detective also fell prey to, huh?
For the fourth film, which also has to hit a date (June 2017), the studio has compounded the problem by cutting the budget. As one exec noted of Lionsgate’s reputation with franchise films (via Hitfix):
“To make their date, they were just racing forward. The whole company is much more interested in delivering product than maintaining quality control. That’s why there are so many bad movies being made there — because, unlike anywhere else I’ve ever worked, the whole thing is just, ‘Move it forward, move it forward, move it forward.’”
Lionsgate has nevertheless vowed to do better in the future. “‘Power Rangers’ we’re really, really excited about — it’s looking great,” Lionsgate’s CEO said. “We could see us doing five or six or seven of them.”
Knowing Lionsgate, they could do five or six of them, and they may just release them all three months apart. (Please don’t do that. I’m strangely excited for the Powerpuff Girls film.)
Meanwhile, poor Shailene Woodley — once the next Jennifer Lawrence — has been absolutely buried by the Divergent series and has had to watch Brie Larson and then Alicia Vikander replace her in the Hollywood pecking order. Don’t worry, Woodley! You can retake the “It” girl lead while Larson is making her King Kong origins movie and Vikander is stuck in the Tomb Raider series.