In an interview with Variety, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and TV group chair Kevin Beggs explained the reasoning behind the move from the big screen to the small one, and confirmed that it came down to money: The films just weren't pulling in enough dough at the box office, capped off by the disappointing run of the latest installment, "Allegiant," which earned only $66 million domestically this spring (compared to the $150 million the first film, "Divergent," made in 2014).
"The performance of the last segment of the theatrical didn't really create a situation where we could commit the production resources necessary to really make the production we needed," Beggs told Variety, though he and Feltheimer insisted that they saw a bright future for the series as a television property -- and believed fans of the series based on Veronica Roth's novels would come on board.
"There's a tremendous fandom," Beggs explained.
The plan right now is to finish up the story being told in the films -- essentially cover all the ground that would have been included in "Ascendant" on the big screen -- in the form of a TV movie, which would then transition into a TV series, which may or may not run for multiple additional seasons.
"We got excited about the possibility of what the series could look like — resolving the novel in a season across 10 to 13 episodes and then expanding from there into multiple seasons," Beggs told Variety.
According to the execs, this plan is an economic win for Lionsgate, and is representative of a new trend where content "bounc[es] back and forth from TV and film." Whether or not fans of the franchise will also make that transition remains to be seen.
It's unclear yet what the timeline is for the project, and no casting announcements have been made yet. Both Woodley and Teller said they didn't know yet if they'd be back. We won't hold our breaths.
Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives in a futuristic world in which society is divided into five factions. As each person enters adulthood, he or she must choose a faction and commit to it for life. Tris chooses Dauntless -- those who pursue bravery above all else. However, her initiation leads to the discovery that she is a Divergent and will never be able to fit into just one faction. Warned that she must conceal her status, Tris uncovers a looming war which threatens everyone she loves. Read More