Lionsgate stunned a lot of people yesterday, including industry insiders, when news emerged that the studio was planning to scrap the theatrical release of the fourth ‘Divergent’ movie, ‘Ascendant’, slash the budget and instead release it as a TV movie.  The studio also hopes that this film will lead to a spin-off TV series.  The reason appears to be the steadily declining box-office performance of these films.  The last installment, this summer’s ‘Allegiant’ grossed only $44 million at the domestic box office.

Among those stunned by this news was the franchise’s star Shailene Woodley who plays Tris Prior who was travelling when the news broke.

“Honestly, I was on a plane when all that happened and I landed, and I’m like Whoa, what’s going on?!”

One of the biggest questions to come out of this news is whether or not the stars of the cinematic films would return for the TV version.

Woodley hadn’t had time to process this bombshell and simply replied:

“I need to talk and find out what the details are.”

‘Ascendant’ was slated to go into production this year to be released next summer, but this news may have scuttled that.

Considering that Lionsgate’s decision appears to be financially-based, it’s questionable as to whether this new film can even afford the salaries of Hollywood up-and-comers like Woodley and her costars including Theo James, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller.  Fans can perhaps hope that these stars are willing to take a pay cut to finish the film series for the loyal fans that have continued to support the ‘Divergent’ series.

The TV movie is intended to wrap up the storylines of the previous films and introduce a new set of characters that Lionsgate hopes will star in a spinoff TV show.  Lionsgate has not yet pitched the film/show combo to any outlet, so there’s not much known at this time.

Check back for more updates as they arrive.

Source: Deadline