Will 'Divergent' be the next big franchise to take over from the likes of 'Harry Potter,' 'Twilight' or 'The Hunger Games'?
Since the Harry Potter and Twilight series ended in 2011 and 2012, respectively, studios are on the lookout for the next blockbuster movie franchise. And since it worked for those sagas, they have been turning to popular book series. This month's entry is Divergent, based on the first of Veronica Roth's three novels set in a dystopian future. It's done well at the US box office, but this week's expansion around the world will be the real sign of whether the franchise has legs.
The only other series to catch on recently has been The Hunger Games, which is now halfway through its four-film arc and is garnering terrific reviews and box office receipts. But it hasn't been clear sailing for other big-name series.
Two of the most promising adaptations have struggled to find audiences. The Chronicles of Narnia, based on CS Lewis' hugely popular seven-book series, has had three money-making films but they haven't performed as well as expected. Still, two more are in the works. On the other hand, The Golden Compass, based on the first book in Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, failed to find an audience. So no more films are planned.
The Percy Jackson series made it to two movies before producers abandoned plans for future adventures, and there are still questions hanging over future Mortal Instruments films after last summer's franchise launcher faltered at the box office.
In other words, no one has a clue what makes some sagas take off while others languish. But studios will continue adapting first novels in popular book series hoping to catch a spark that propels them into box office glory.