In the interest of fairness, journalistic integrity, and the pursuit of happiness, I will admit that I’ve not seen the Liongsgate CEO, Jon Feltheimer, actually say The Divergent Series: Allegiant is terrible. Or even bad. Rather, what’s being widely circulated in film circles is that he admitted in a conversation with Wall Street analysts that the studio may have rushed the film’s development and production to hit a date. It’s unspoken, sure, but it’s there. Trash. Thanks for telling us something we don’t know, Jon: the film was already basking in the glory of a 12% rotten critics rating on Rottentomatoes.com (including a hearty 0% from top critics–a distinction it shares with other champions of the film world like: The Ridiculous 6, Jaws: The Revenge, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, and Look Who’s Talking Now!–in other words, films and sequels that should never have been made).
But the box office numbers should have told Lionsgate what we already know. The film had a $29 million bow its opening weekend, down from an average of $53 million for its predecessors. It’s world wide box office take was $170 million on a $110 million budget (this does not include marketing costs).
What I love about the story is that it’s not the 12% approval rating that warranted an admittance of error from the studio head, it was the abysmal box office numbers. Obvious, true, that a studio would be concerned with appeasing investors rather than its audiences, but also a highly troubling reality. Critical response was already telling the tale with a 40% rotten tally for Divergent and a 29% red flag for Insurgent (audience approval ratings have declined as well: 70%, 59%, and 46%).
The good news is that there’s still a fourth film coming, Ascendant (2017), with which the studio fan finally get things right learning from their past mistakes cut the budget in response to Allegiant’s dismal numbers and produce even worse fare.
I only saw DystopianHot Chick I and Dystopian Hot Chick II: DHC meets DHDude because my girlfriend made me. No plans to increase the box office a tic for the third, or fourth. My advice to Lionsgate: if you’re going to attempt to follow a formula, at least follow it well enough to produce the same entertainment value for the audience. Seriously, these are bad movies that hardly make any sense. Please do not reboot them when the fourth bombs.