Normally, I take the immortal words of Destiny’s Child as my writing motto:
“You know I’m not gon’ diss you on the internet
Cause my mama taught me better than that”
– “Survivor” (2001)
Every now and then, however, something so irritates me that I feel compelled to violate this maxim. Today is one of those days. And what has me so riled up? Summit Entertainment’s decision to split Allegiant, the final third of the Divergent trilogy, into two movies. [Deadline]
— Divergent (@Divergent) April 11, 2014
Splitting Allegiant into two movies may be ill-advised. Why? Not only does Allegiant diverge most from the trilogy’s central premise, and tell the most convoluted of the three tales, but it inspires the most divisive love-hate debate among fans (for reasons I won’t spoil here). Those adapting popular YA-fiction books and series have MILLIONS ($$) of reasons to avoid angering or alienating the fandom—just ask 2007’s The Golden Compass, or 2013’s Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Ender’s Game, among others. Thus, splitting Allegiant may, ultimately, serve only to double potential criticism.
At 759 pages (US), there was good reason to split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two movies—and the same went for Twilight’s Breaking Dawn (756 pages hardcover). As with The Hunger Games’ Mockingjay (390 pages), however, Allegiant’s 526 pages could probably have translated nicely into one 2.5-to-3-hour movie. After all, it worked just fine for Divergent’s 487 pages—and I don’t recall any public talk of splitting Insurgent’s 525.
Divergent has done well at the box office, grossing $116.6M domestically ($139M worldwide) in the 20 days since its release. [Box Office Mojo] Insurgent and Allegiant—whether split or not—probably will/would too. Ergo, it seems like dollars-and-cents were the deciding factor here—that is, Harry Potter and Twilight made more money on two movies than they would have on one, so it stands to reason that Divergent would too. But no two YA franchises are identical, and past success does not guarantee future success.
And what of Allegiant’s narrative integrity: Does it matter? (Should it matter?)
As a fan, I fervently hope that the integrity of a beloved YA-fiction novel or series always matters. As a capitalist, I understand the desire maximize profit. And as a realist, I know I’ll pay to see all remaining Divergent movies—and would do so even if both Insurgent and Allegiant were bisected. How lucky for Summit.
Share your (mostly SPOILER-free) thoughts on ALLEGIANT’s split in the comments below!
Check out other DIVERGENT coverage by the Screen Invasion Team!
Featured Image: © 2014 Summit Entertainment
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