Friday, June 21, 2024

Will $100 Mil “Divergent” Be a “Hunger Games” or “Ender’s Game”?


The blitz is on for “Divergent,” which Lions Gate releases this Friday. The $100 million sci fi thriller is hoped to be a a new franchise a la “The Hunger Games.” Indeed, from the trailers, it seems just like “The Hunger Games.” In this version, Shailene Woodley and Theo James play similar roles to Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth. “The Hunger Games” has made hundreds of millions of dollars as it captivates the young adult tween audience.

Or will “Divergent” turn out to be “Ender’s Game”? Lions Gate thought that sci-fi thriller would be a big success. It was not. With Harrison Ford and no YA appeal particularly, “Ender’s Game” made just $61 mil domestically and another $50.5 million in foreign places. It also cost around $110 million not including promotion etc.

One big problem for “Divergent” is bad reviews. They’ve started pouring in this morning. Variety and THR didn’t like it, and the bloggers on Rotten Tomatoes don’t seem happy about it either. Variety noted the movie’s “uncertain sense of setting, bloated plot, drab visual style.” They didn’t care much for the leads, either.

“Divergent” also features Oscar winner Kate Winslet in her first big budget paycheck part since “Titanic.” I don’t blame her for wanting to make a living.

Unless “Divergent” is resurgent with teens who don’t read reviews, this could be a rough Friday at Lions Gate.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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