NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- LionsGate (LGF) is hoping for its next blockbuster in Divergent, the latest post-apocalyptic young-adult novel series turned film franchise. But can it repeat the success it had with The Hunger Games?
Early reviews haven't been glowing. The film, which follows a world in which society has been fractured into different factions based on virtues, has only received a 34% approval rating on film reviews site Rotten Tomatoes.
In his review, TIME Magazine's Mike Ryan wrote, "It's impossible to ignore the overwhelming sense that we've seen all this before, only with better execution."
And Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said, "The faithful but dramatically flat film version of Divergent, from Veronica Roth's 2011 bestseller, couldn't stir palpitations in shut-ins. It's that bland and lifeless."
But what the film's success boils down to isn't critical acclaim, but teenage response. And in that respect, Divergent looks promising.
According to Reuters, box office analysts project opening weekend ticket sales between $50 million and $68 million in domestic markets. While that's one-third of the $152.5 million generated by the first film in The Hunger Games franchise, it is by no measure weak -- making comparisons to the wildly successful film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is a high bar to measure any film against.
Given the Divergent trilogy has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, this movie already has an existing fan base to appeal to, let alone new audiences it can draw through marketing and buzz.
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