Watching The Divergent Series: Insurgent made us think more than ever that Lionsgate needs to reverse their Allegiant plan.
When the studio announced Veronica Roth’s Allegiant book would be split into two movies last year, fans were naturally upset. Although this has been done with various books over the past few years, the backlash against Allegiant seemed to be particularly harsh due to the fact that the source material doesn’t offer enough story to warrant a split.
“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,” said Lionsgate heads Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger last August.
But is that true?
Why ‘Allegiant’ should be un-split
1) There isn’t enough story to support two films. Roth herself admitted recently she would split Allegiant only a fifth of the way into the book. She went so far as to say that if the story deserved a split she would’ve done it while writing. Here are her exact thoughts (via Vulture):
I don’t know [where to split the book]. For me, it’s one story, because if it hadn’t been, I would have split it. It does seem to me that Allegiant has two major arcs, dealing with the aftermath of Insurgent inside the city, and what happens once they go outside. There are a couple places where they could split it, but I’m not exactly sure how they will do it at this point. I’m curious to see how it goes!
It’s bad news if the author doesn’t see a reason to split it story wise (And we appreciate her honesty). Roth’s idea to split it when they leave Chicago takes place in Chapter 10. There are 56 chapters in the book, meaning the best split point is the one that takes place roughly 1/5th of the way into Allegiant.
Perhaps filmmakers were aware they’d have to split Allegiant this early, and made big adjustments to Insurgent to add more to Allegiant, Part 1. For example, Tris doesn’t find out that the woman in the big video at the end of Insurgent is her ancestor Edith Prior (despite being named in the film’s credits). It seems likely she’ll find out this news — and stew in it — during the early moments of Part 1.
2) The franchise’s box office power appears to be shrinking. Insurgent’s box office was slightly lower than Divergent’s pull despite the sequel being available in 3D. The higher ticket costs should’ve given the film a little box office boost, but it didn’t, which means fewer people saw the sequel than the original. That’s not a good trend to be dealing with when you’re about to adapt the third book which was least-liked by fans.
If that downward trend continues, investors will be upset, fans will have fatigue, and the film will go out on a low note.
3) The current plan calls for one story but separate productions. In a press release last year, Lionsgate said the films would be “produced and released as two separate films,” revealing that they will not be shot back-to-back. If this plan holds, this’ll be the first YA book split into two that isn’t shot back-to-back for money saving purposes. Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games all shot their two-part finales back-to-back.
If they’re going to keep the story split, they probably have to reconsider shooting them as separate productions, or else they’ll be wasting an unnecessary amount of money. If they’re going to keep them separate, one way they may save money is by lowering the production budgets.
Why Allegiant should stay split
1) Plain and simple: The studio is going to make a lot more money by splitting it. Even if fewer and fewer moviegoers turn out for the next two movies, the overall box office will be larger than it would be if there were only three films in the series.
Should fans rejoice if they keep it split after all? Yes and no. Yes because you’ll have more Theo James and Shailene Woodley screen time, no because the sagging box office likely signals smaller production budgets ahead.
Here’s a goofy but feasible idea: Cancel splitting Allegiant, and put a Divergent spinoff film in Allegiant, Part 2’s March 2017 release date slot. We know they’re trying to come up with a Divergent spinoff, and while the idea doesn’t sound too great right now, it’s probably better than splitting the Allegiant book.
What do you think Lionsgate should do about ‘Allegiant’?
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