‘Divergent’ Fills Need for Dystopia-Hungry Audience

Source: Summit Entertainment

The film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent will hit theaters in a couple of weeks, while the market is still hungering for a new dystopia flick — a good choice by Lionsgate. Divergent is the first installment of a trilogy, and the franchise is looking at a promising future by jumping onto the scene when audiences are highly receptive of anything that will tide them over until the next Hunger Games movie is released (it’s not scheduled until November). But Divergent isn’t merely a stop-gap film: It’s being hyped as a series with quite a lot of potential.

The movie takes viewers into a future in which society is divided into groups, but Tris, the female protagonist, is what’s known as a “divergent,” someone who doesn’t fit into the normal scheme of things and whose life is threatened by her uniqueness. Tris is played by Shailene Woodley, known for her role in the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, as well as the Academy Award-winning film The Descendants. Her co-star Theo James, who plays a character named Four, is known for Underworld Awakening. While the film is yet to be reviewed, Roth told MTV that Woodley and James are “everything [she] hoped for (or maybe more than [she] dared to hope for).”

Kate Winslet also took a role in the film — a different step for her acting career — as the villain Jeanine Matthews. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said the role appealed to her after she read the novel. “Frankly, I wanted to play a baddie! It’s something I have never done,” Winslet said to the publication.

Lionsgate is well aware of what it’s doing by releasing Divergent in the space between the Hunger Games installments. According to The Wrap, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a call with analysts recently that The Hunger Games and Divergent certainly are comparable.

“The parallels are very, very strong and very, very similar,” he said, pointing out that both film series are from best-selling novels with a strong fan base. However, Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, held back on ticket-sale comparisons to the The Hunger Games franchise. “I don’t know if we’d ever want to put that burden on any film,” Friedman said.

Divergent is scheduled to hit theaters March 21, so moviegoers have a few weeks to read the 487-page novel. The trilogy also features Insurgent and Allegiant, each around 500 pages in length.

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