Divergent fans deserve better than a TV movie

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Shailene Woodley and Theo James as Tris and Four

This week it was revealed that the final Divergent movie, Ascendant, could be released as a TV movie rather than a theatrical release and I couldn’t believe it. Yes, the films have decreased in quality and box office figures but to bow out now is just a kick in the teeth for fans.

I said all along that the third book shouldn’t be split into two films because there wasn’t enough content and as a consequence the storyline in Allegiant was very different to the novel, leading many to question if the second half would be remotely close to Veronica Roth’s intended conclusion.

It’s just unfair for the fans because they love the movies and have supported it and will not get the closure in the way they wanted. Sure, their numbers aren’t huge and it’s been considered a box office disappointment, but a TV movie is such a fuck you, like Lionsgate don’t respect the fans enough to give the franchise a proper send off and are just thinking about their pockets so they are short-changing them out of theatrical finale.

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Why not reduce the film’s budget, do less promo and/or do a limited cinema run? A TV movie is just a very low move and I don’t know if this has even happened to a modern franchise before. It’s so humiliating for the team. It’s like admitting defeat and that they have no faith left in the franchise but feel like have to see it through because they bought the book rights.

Also I’ve read that the cast including Shailene Woodley and Theo James might not return for the TV movie because their contracts stipulated theatrical release. What the hell?! Lionsgate can’t possibly think this is a good idea or remotely respectful of the audience – to switch casting now would be stupid. This is just disappointment after disappointment.

I had a feeling things were going badly for the franchise when director Robert Schwentke dropped out before the fourth and none of the stars came to the U.K. to promote Allegiant, even though they had for the previous two films – you can read about my premonition here.

At the end of the day, it’s not the fans’ fault it all went wrong. The filmmakers just didn’t know how to pitch it to people who hadn’t read the books. They came out too close to The Hunger Games and were too similar to it. The Maze Runner has a similar issue but it’s sequel was brilliant and it has a very loyal fan base. Remember that the figures for The Hunger Games two-part conclusion also dropped significantly and that, again, was because the final book didn’t need two movies. Mockingjay – Part I didn’t have much in it at all. Luckily, it had a much bigger box office draw to begin with.

The dignified thing to do would be a final theatrical release. That’s what the fans want and deserve.

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