Are we finally seeing the end of the multi-part finale? The dystopian YA craze? Both?
Lionsgate announced yesterday that due to the critical and commercial failure of Allegiant, the third Divergent film, that finale Ascendant has been canceled as a feature film. Lionsgate claims to be shopping around a tv movie and spinoff television series. Ascendant was to start filming this summer for a June 2017 release.
Divergent was merely cashing in on the pattern that was started by the final Harry Potter book and continued by Twilight and The Hunger Games franchises. However, Allegiance had a mixed reaction in its book release, while the film was utterly reviled (13% on Rotten Tomatoes- that is worse than any of the Twilight films or Razzie darling Fifty Shades of Grey.)
Critical reception of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 was very positive. At a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78%, it ties with Order of the Phoenix for the lowest scores of the franchise, but still Certified Fresh. However, Deathly Hallows (whose book celebrates its 9th anniversary today) was a massive door-stopper of an incredibly well-received finale. The choice to split into two movies was widely accepted, with the note that many people wished Goblet of Fire had done the same.
Twilight had a different experience. While none of the movies were rated particularly well, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 was the most reviled, with a paltry 24% rating. Widely regarded as a filler film intended to cash in on the success of Harry Potter’s split finale, the trick worked on its largely young teenage fanbase. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 was again the lowest rated film of the franchise, with a 65% score. Even the positive reviews, however, admit that the story seems stretched too thin and the material should probably have been one film. Like Divergent, Hunger Games goes rather dark in its ending, but the book was much more well received than Allegiant.
Only time will tell if Ascendant ever actually sees the light of day. Variety admits the Lionsgate has not even begun to pitch the projects. Digging around on Twitter, none of the stars have commented, though Ansel Elgort has an extremely impressive Pokemon roster. The official Divergent account is also staying mum.
The dystopian craze seems to be dying out, with several Twilight and Hunger Games follow-the-leaders suffering at the box office. TV seems to be the smarter way to go, with shows such as The Vampire Diaries, The 100, and Teen Wolf able to find footing. TV’s Shadowhunters has found the success that eluded the film release The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Delirium and The Selection have failed to launch television shows, with the latter failing twice.
I’m hoping this will open the gates for new ideas instead of the constant case of Follow-the-Leader and multi-part finale cash-ins. What YA books do you hope take off in the absence of this trend?