Lionsgate continues to market its upcoming film Insurgent- the much-anticipated sequel of the Divergent franchise – with broad strokes, emphasizing romance and revolution in its new trailer.
The “young adult” movie, adapted from a series of dystopian novels written by Veronica Roth, already released one full-length official trailer, a teaser trailer before the Superbowl on February 1st, and a 3-minute featurette – all of which lean heavily on CGI, slow-motion graphics, and adrenaline-filled action sequences to draw viewers into Tris’s (Shailene Woodley, The Fault In Our Stars) war.
With Insurgent’s subsequent 3D reveal, Lionsgate seems confident in its budding franchise, grooming the sequels for solid marketability (the last movie of the Divergent series, entitled Allegient, has already been split into two parts) and following a familiar path behind recent YA dystopias like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.
Almost as prevalent as unabashed Hollywood remakes and reboots, the market for YA novels-turned-film is a trend that has successfully dug its claws into 21st century mainstream filmmaking. For studios like Lionsgate, which also produced the hit Hunger Games franchise, the benefits of transplanting an already-successful book series onto the silver screen is obvious: the studio doesn’t have to risk failure on an untested idea, and meanwhile enjoys the attention of an already-established fanbase.
One of the earliest YA book-to-film franchises to capitalize on this concept was Twilight (2008), with each of its sequels enjoying a consistently large box office gross worldwide. The Hunger Games, however, marked the modern resurgence of the dystopian YA universe, heralding the tale of a strong young protagonist who rises to battle the omnipotent Adult Dictatorship (The Capitol in Hunger Games, the Erudite in Divergent, W.C.K.D in The Maze Runner, etc.) within a bleak futuristic setting.
Judging by the overwhelming popularity of these dystopian stories (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, and Maze Runner series are all best-sellers), the young adult audience is clearly willing to read, and watch, characters overthrow a ruthless Old World Order, even if it results in an uncertain future. Best-selling YA writer Lauren Oliver, author of the dystopian Delirium novel series, boils it down to character identity:
The young protagonists are inheriting this kind of dark and broken world, and with a little bit of pluck and courage, try to navigate it and try to salvage some kind of a happy ending. And I do think there’s a lot of parallels to how young people kind of feel nowadays as they’re confronting this future that’s very uncertain in this country economically and they’re inheriting what they see as kind of a broken world.”
Like Jennifer Lawrence’s steadfast Katniss, Shailene Woodley’s Tris has quite the reputation to uphold.