The planned fourth and final film in the Divergent franchise, The Divergent Series: Ascendant, has been cancelled, after the third film in the series, Allegiant, flopped upon its release in March of this year, grossing less than $180 million budget on a $110 million dollar budget. When marketing costs are considered, as well as the fact that approximately 50% of profit generated by ticket sales are kept by the theatres and cinemas that show the films, it is thought that Allegiant may have lead to a financial loss for the production companies involved. The first two films in the series performed significantly better, but still delivered an underwhelming commercial performance and small profit margins.
Ascendant was set to be the second part of a two part story, with both Allegiant and Ascendant based on the same book from the Young Adult Fiction trilogy penned by author Veronica Roth.
Lionsgate launched the franchise in hopes of cashing in on the trend of Dystopian Young Adult movies, which had brought worldwide success and recognition to The Hunger Games series, but the films had failed to muster up the same hysteria.
The film, which was set to start shooting later this year for a 2017 release, was reportedly in jeopardy after the third instalment’s lacklustre performance, with some of the actors agents confirming to Yahoo News that their clients had yet to even receive a script.
All is not lost, though, as it is reported that the final film will be shot and released as a TV movie, but with a significantly smaller budget that could see some of its stars, including actress Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Theo James, fail to return to the roles they had portrayed three times in cinema.
All of the actors signed contracts exclusive to film and cinema, and new deals will have to be renegotiated between the studios and the actors to secure their presence on the small screen; usually when renegotiations take place midway through a franchise, it leaves the actors and actresses involved in a strong position to ask for a higher salary, but with such significant budget cuts, it is likely they will be asked to accept a smaller fee. While it is reported that Woodley has been approached about reprising her roles, other actors have heard nothing yet from production company Lionsgate, with one of her co-stars reps reportedly commenting that the company can “think again” if they believe that they can skimp on actors salaries as part of unavoidable budget cuts.
Lionsgate TV, who will handle the film on its new platform, also have plans to launch a Television Spin off Series based in the same world as The Divergent Series, though it’s not expected that any of the films main stars will be asked to return for that.
None of the films stars have yet to comment on the development.
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