Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Neverending Story

This week Lionsgate Studios announced that after the less than stellar box office performance of Divergent 3: Part 1, er, I mean The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the final chapter of the series will now be a TV movie instead of a theatrical film.

The first Divergent movie was a modest hit that grossed around $150 million, while the second brought in a decent $130 million. Lionsgate then revealed they'd be splitting the third film in the series into two parts in a blatant attempt to rake in more box office earnings in order to "do the story justice and give it room to breathe." The Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games franchises pulled this same "split finale" crap, with great success.

Unfortunately for the studio, Allegiant turned out to be a huge flop, grossing just $66 million against its whopping $110 million dollar budget. I have no idea where all that money went, but it definitely wasn't up on the screen.

It's easy to see why Allegiant flopped. Unlike other Young Adult films, the Divergent series just doesn't have any stakes. In The Hunger Games films, teens are forced to hunt and kill one another in order to survive. In Divergent, teens are forced to pick one of five Factions in which to live and work. Seriously. That's it. They're rebelling against mandatory job placement. The horror. The horror...

Additionally, The Divergent Series can't even be bothered to stick with its own premise. The main concept of The Hunger Games— that of televised killing— was prevalent (to a degree) in every film. The "Forced Factions" premise of Divergent is dropped after the first movie, as the story quickly devolves into a muddled, plotless mess. It was also a huge waste of actress Maggie Q.

And then Lionsgate wonders why these films aren't box office smashes.

The final chapter of the series, The Divergent Series: Ascendant, was scheduled to hit theaters in June 2017. According to studio insiders, Lionsgate has scrapped that notion, and now plans to wrap up the series on the small screen with a much cheaper, scaled-down TV movie. The film will then segue into a TV series, starring a new cast of characters (which I guarantee will never come to pass).

At this point, the studio isn't sure if the cast of Allegiant will return for the TV movie or not.

All I have to say about the situation is "Good!" Serves the studio right for gouging the audience. Greedy bastards. They never should have split the final film in half in the first place. There was barely enough material in the last book for one movie, let alone two. You could practically feel the padding!

The whole sorry affair just pisses me off. I've already wasted devoted six hours of my life to watching these cinematic turds, and now I probably won't get to see the finale and find out how the story ends because they'll likely air on either HBO or Showtime. Frustrating!

Ah well. I can barely remember what happened in any of the movies anyway, so... who cares? 

Let's hope this incident puts an end to the "split finale" phenomenon once and for all.

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