Lionsgate/Summit is targeting the Winter Olympics audience with a 60 second preview Thursday night for new franchise hopeful “Divergent” (March 21). I say hopeful because the materials on this movie do not show how romantic it is–they’re targeting men with action. But the reason Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” series is so successful–despite a young woman action hero –is that everything Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) does is motivated by her love and concern for her family. She’s protecting them–and eventually–trying to act on behalf of the disenfranchised people of Panem.
Lionsgate/Summit’s materials show Shailene Woodley as fierce Tris Prior, who chooses to leave her family to become a fighter in the Dauntless faction. I wonder if this movie backs up her ferocity, as the Veronica Roth book does. The book balances a portrait of an unforgiving dystopian world (its leader is played by Kate Winslet) with a powerful romance between Tris and Four (Theo James), her trainer.
Why spend so much money on an Olympic spot? Lionsgate/Summit is invested in this launch–they’ve already committed to a sequel with a different director, Rob Schwentke (“Red”), replacing the first, Neil Burger. Wouldn’t they have kept him if they were happy with the results?