I’m a big fan of young adult novels, especially those with strong, independent female protagonists, so when a woman wrote to ask me if I’d like to have her discuss how The Hunger Games books and films compare to the Divergent books and films, I was intrigued. I’m not a film analyst, by any means, so I’m glad to have Elizabeth Eckhart give us some insight on these films. Enjoy her analysis, and let us know what you think of these books and films in the comments below.
This past weekend the highly anticipated film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent hit theaters and pulled in over $54 million. The film is only the latest in a series of film adaptations of YA novels, and certainly won’t be the last. While the box office pull was clearly successful, many can’t help but compare it to a similar film, based off a similar book series: The Hunger Games.
They may be rightfully compared based on surface facts; both are YA book series based in the dystopian future, both feature an up and coming female lead, both rely heavily on action scenes, and, of course, both have been adapted to films. While Divergent hasn’t quite met up to the box office bar set when The Hunger Games brought in a staggering $152 million it’s opening weekend, it’s certainly not one to be counted out.
In fact, Divergent is certainly the most successful YA film adaptation release in the past few years that wasn’t part of The Hunger Games franchise. There was a perceived backlash at these film adaptations that took shape in the form of a multitude of films bombing at the box office, like The Host, Vampire Academy, The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and Ender’s Game (most of which you can view through services like Netflix or Direct-Ticket). With The Hunger Games films fresh on audience minds, it would appear all others were simply paling in comparison.
However, that didn’t deter movie studios from taking more YA novels to the big screen — not by a long shot. In fact, the star of Divergent will appear in another film adaptation this summer: The Fault in our Stars. Also coming in August is the highly anticipated The Giver, which, based on the recently released trailer, looks to be one to watch. The cast includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Swift, as well as Hollywood newbie Brenton Thwaites as the main character, Jonas. This, of course, isn’t even mentioning the latest Hunger Games film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, which is set to hit theaters in late November and is sure to be a box office smash.
Of course, it should be mentioned that there are plans to bring the other two books in the Divergent series (Insurgent and Allegiant) to the big screen. As of now, there are rumored plans to begin filming Insurgent starting in May and continuing through the summer with a scheduled release date of March 2015. Allegiant, meanwhile, is set to hit theaters during March of 2016. So, it looks like if you weren’t a fan of Divergent the film, but are a fan of the books, they’ll have a few more chances to make it up to you.
Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment blogger who was born and raised in Chicago. She loves books slightly more than films, and is almost always disappointed with the big screen versions of her favorite novels (then again, who isn’t?). She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.