Following the disastrous box office performances of Allegiant, the final entry in the Divergent series will be bypassing cinemas as Ascendant will now be retooled as a TV movie. The poor performance of Allegiant put Lionsgate’s plans into free fall; first, they slashed the production budget significantly; then the release date was moved from March 24, 201 to mid-June with Lionsgate’s Power Rangers reboot taking Ascendant’s old slot.
According to Variety, the TV movie would wrap up the main story with Tris and Four and will serve as a launchpad to introduce new characters for a potential spin-off TV series. The project is still in its early stages and as series stars, Shailene Woodley and Theo James’ contracts were for theatrically released movies, there is a chance that their roles will be recast.
The news was something of a shock for Woodley as she only heard the announcement after she arrived at Comic-Con to promote Snowden. When quizzed about her involvement Woodley responded with a baffled "I need to talk and find out what the details are."
As a franchise, Divergent never reached the heights of other YA adaptations like Twilight or The Hunger Games, but the first two movies in the series were modest enough hits. However, the penultimate instalment could only muster $179 million worldwide with just $66 million from North America, weighted against a budget of more than $110 million Allegiant was far from successful. Divergent isn't the only YA movie series to be reworked for the small screen, back in 2014 The Mortal Instruments failed to launch a movie franchise with its first instalment (City of Bones) and was rebooted as the TV series Shadowhunters.
While I can’t call myself a fan of The Divergent Series, the move to an episodic format might have been the way to go from the start.