Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
March 24, 2015
Kim Hollis: Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent (duh), earned $52.3 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Ryan Kyle: I feel as if this film could have really benefited by having a longer gap than just a year between installments. With an arguably hefty fan base of the book from the last film, letting Divergent breathe on DVD and cable could have converted a few more fans to come this go-around instead of being on par with the last. Insurgent also benefited from 3D, so even fewer tickets were sold than Divergent. This is about as passable as it gets, although overseas should be bolstered by the strong action visuals. I liked the print campaign, and for being sold as an action film instead of a sci-fi romance, I'm surprised this didn't open higher. The only note of encouragement in the numbers is the very light Saturday fall, showing that unlike most YA-franchises, the fans of this film aren't in a rush to see it opening weekend, but over the next few weeks.
Edwin Davies: I'm not sure if more time between installments could have helped Insurgent all that much - the first film has been on DVD since August and the fans of the books are exactly the sort of fans who will rush out and buy it as soon as possible. It would have helped more if Divergent had been better, or if it had at least pandered to its audience better. New Moon came out a year after Twilight and doubled its opening weekend, and while Twilight was not a particularly good film, it did satisfy its audience and gave them what they wanted from an adaptation of a book they liked. Divergent was also not especially good, but more important, it didn't fire up the fan base as much as the earlier film did. Maybe it's because Divergent is more sci-fi than romance so the pent up desire to see the film was somehow not as strong, but you could say the
same about The Hunger Games and that series wasn't exactly hurt by its genre.
This result underlines what I've always thought is the Divergent series' biggest weakness: it has never distinguished itself as anything more than a Hunger Games imitator. Obviously the series has a decent number of fans who will show up to support it, as evidenced by the slight dip in opening weekend (though, as Ryan rightly points out, that total is padded by 3D and IMAX pricing so it's already shedding its audience) but to the layman, it's no different from any number of post-Twilight YA adaptations.
Max Braden: Holding steady compared to the first movie isn't bad, but it's not great. But then I don't know that anyone really thought of this movie series as great. Divergent's reviews were significantly weaker than the past three Hunger Games movies, and Shailene Woodley isn't yet the star that Jennifer Lawrence is. My problem with the trailer for Insurgent is that Shailene's character never really looked in peril, cruising through obstacles as if she's just on a theme park adventure ride. The Hunger Games is more compelling because there seems to be more at stake for the underdogs.