It seemed set to fill the gaping void that The Hunger Games left behind, but sadly after the third entry was met with an international, resounding chorus of "meh" — pulling in around half of what its two predecessors banked at the box office — plans for the fourth film in The Divergent Series have reportedly changed. Rather than push the final installment to theaters, Ascendant will wrap up the franchise on the small scene.
After two solid box office entries and the stumble at the third, the fourth apocalyptic film was set to debut in June 2017; but, as it would have squared off against Word War Z 2 and The Mummy reboot, Lionsgate is approaching it with a different strategy. Though details of said strategy are still vague, per Variety's report, the studio's television group is considering plans for a spin-off TV series after the existing storyline involving the current cast — alongside the introduction of new characters — is wrapped up.
However, this news doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. As we're entering an era swamped with rumors of classic movies getting the TV reboot treatment, moving The Divergent Series: Ascendant to the small screen doesn't necessarily mark the franchise's downfall.
This year we've already been teased with rumors of an expanded Bourne universe TV series based on the works of espionage writer Robert Ludlum starring Dwayne Johnson, news of a plethora of nostalgic spin-offs — including a Cruel Intentions series and Lethal Weapon — and with The Exorcist reimagining gearing up for its TV debut this September, the time of the TV cinematic is very much upon us.
In other words, The Divergent would be in good company.
4 Movies With Super Successful TV Spin-Offs
The Coen brothers' 1996 dark comedy thriller Fargo garnered such a wealth of critical acclaim that the Library of Congress deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, this cult hit received seven Academy Award nominations and won two, Best Actress (McDormand) and Best Writing (Original Screenplay). It goes without saying then, that when news of a TV spin off series on FX hit, fans were skeptical. Thankfully, their worries were unfounded.
Two years on from the series premiere in 2014 and the Fargo reboot has just been nominated for a grand total of nine Primetime Emmy Awards, including for Kirsten Dunst in the Outstanding Lead Actress category, Noah Hawley for Outstanding Directing and the coveted Outstanding Limited Series award.
2. 12 Monkeys
Terry Gilliam's neo-noir sci-fi epic 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt absolutely swept up at the box office when it hit theaters back in 1995. Grossing $168 million worldwide on a $29.5 million budget, and shot within 4 months, those involved in the project laughed all the way to the bank, with Pitt scooping up a Golden Globe along the way.
Skip forward 20 years and Season 1 of 12 Monkeys SyFy TV show holds an audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic consensus of:
"The nonsensical time travel in 12 Monkeys makes it less watchable than its original source material, but the high quality execution and cool characters are top-notch."
3. Wet Hot American Summer
A spoof of sex comedies aimed at teenagers, 2001's Wet Hot American Summer calls back to the last days at a fictional summer camp in the early '80s and, although it was somewhat of a commercial flop, it's stellar cast — including Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks — and its satirical wit caused the movie to gather a cult following over the years.
Then, last year Netflix rebooted an eight-episode prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, which not only included a wealth of the now extremely successful cast returning to play younger versions of their original roles — which was hilarious in its absurdity — but its goofy hijinks filled all the desires fans of the OG movie craved. The series holds a 92% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, too, and you know those guys are a hard bunch to please.
Of course, although we're in an era when TV revivals are becoming a popular format, it's not actually a new idea, as 1970s classic M*A*S*H proved. The original black comedy became one of 20th Century Fox's biggest hits of that decade and bagged an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (as the film was based off Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors).
The film inspired the launch of the M*A*S*H TV show, which premiered only 2 years later and went on to become one of the highest-rated shows in US TV history. Over its 11-year-run, it was nominated for over 100 Emmy Awards, scooping up an impressive 14, including Outstanding Comedy Series in '74, Outstanding Writing in '79 and Outstanding Lead Actor in '82.
Even its intro theme was great, as Family Guy's Stewie demonstrates below:
More news on The Divergent development to follow.
Would you watch a The Divergent TV series?
Source: Variety, Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo