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Lionsgate Eyeing ‘Divergent’ Revenue Streams

10 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Home entertainment and young-adult focus driving studio fortunes

Summit Entertainment April 9 said it has begun principal photography in Chicago on the movie adaptation of Divergent, starring Golden Globe nominee Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Oscar winner Kate Winslet, among others.

Divergent — based on the eponymous young adult novel, which has sold 3 million copies — is set in a future world where people are divided into factions based on their personalities. Tris Prior (Woodley) is warned she is divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all “divergents,” she embarks on a journey to find out what makes being divergent so dangerous.

Divergent is slated for theatrical release March 21, 2014.

The movie marks another strategic foray for Summit (which is owned by Lionsgate) into producing content for young adults following the success of Twilight, which grossed more than $3.3 billion at the global box office. Lionsgate’s other youth-oriented franchise, “The Hunger Games,” ranks as the 13th highest-grossing North American release of all time. Sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters Nov. 22.

Lionsgate last month said "Twilight’s" last film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, sold an estimated 3.85 million combined DVD and Blu-ray units in its home entertainment debut — an increase over the debut weekend of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 in 2012. Hunger Games and Breaking Dawn — Part 1 ranked among the top four home entertainment releases of 2012, according to Lionsgate.

Hunger Games has generated $125 million in DVD sales through Jan.6 since its retail release last August, according to estimates by The-Numbers.com.

“Not until after the movie went to DVD did Lionsgate report consistent positive earnings,” said XY Trader, an independent equities and options trader in a recent post on SeekingAlpha.com.

Indeed, home entertainment sales of movies and TV shows increased 23% to $233 million in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31). Lionsgate posted a $37.8 million profit compared with a $1.4 million loss during the previous-year period.

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