In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Summit Entertainment has announced that the final book in Veronica Roth‘s Divergent trilogy, Allegiant, will be split into two movies.
The first installment of the film series — Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley — has done solid if not spectacular box office, and the first sequel, Insurgent, is in preproduction on track for release on March 20, 2015. Look for Allegiant — Part 1 on March 18, 2016, and Part 2 on March 24, 2017. Summit is owned by Lionsgate, which pulled a similar expansion trick with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and Part 2 in 2011 and 2012, making five movies from Stephenie Meyer’s four novels. And right now, the third book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy is being filmed as two movies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and Part 2, due for release this Nov. 21 and Nov. 20, 2015. Tap-dancing furiously in a bid to make this look like anything other than a cynical cash-grab, Lionsgate issued a statement saying:
“Veronica Roth brings her captivating story to a masterful conclusion in Allegiant, a rich, action-packed book with material that is ideally suited to two strong and fulfilling movies. The storytelling arc and world of the characters lend themselves perfectly to two films, a storytelling strategy that has worked very well for us on the two Twilight: Breaking Dawn films and about which we’re tremendously enthusiastic for the two upcoming Mockingjay films of The Hunger Games franchise.”
The studio wants to turn Shailene into the next Jennifer Lawrence, so it is following the same script with its newest charismatic young starlet. I just hope no one sets up a phony “feud” between the two. There’s plenty of room for two beautiful and talented younger leading ladies. Neither one can front all the action/romance films coming down the pike alone. And it looks like J-Law may soon be spending a lot more time painted blue and kicking people in the head, leaving the leather-clad weapons-mistress field clear for… um, S-Wood.