Neil Burger has announced that he will not be directing the second film in Lionsgate’s “Divergent” film franchise. The sequel is scheduled for release on March 20th, 2015. Burger is currently in post-production for “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley, for a March 21, 2014, release and Lionsgate has revealed they are currently seeking another director for “Insurgent.” The films are based on the novels of the same name written by Veronica Roth.
The “Divergent” franchise — released via its Summit brand — is viewed as a key to Lionsgate’s strategy to lead in the young-adult genre. Summit’s five “Twilight” films have topped $3.3 billion in worldwide grosses and Lionsgate’s first two “Hunger Games” have pulled in over $1.4 billion.
The March, 2015, release date of “Insurgent” requires that production start this spring. Lionsgate also announced Monday that the third film, “Allegiant,” will be released a year later on March 18, 2016.
“Divergent” also stars Theo James, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet. Set in a dystopian Chicago, the story centers on a society divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue — Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite — with all 16-year-olds required on a particular day to select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.
Summit has issued a statement in response to Burger leaving the project, saying that scheduling issues have precluded him from directing “Insurgent”:
“Neil Burger is a rock star and he is doing a fantastic job on Divergent. We can’t wait for you to see the film. But as amazing as Neil is he still cannot be in two places at once and thus needs to finish post production on Divergent while we gear up to start production on Insurgent. So, although Neil will continue on as part of our Divergent family as an executive producer, we sadly have to find another director for the next chapter in Veronica Roth’s fantastic series.”