Divergent (film)

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Lead characters Tris and Four stand above a futuristic Chicago.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNeil Burger
Produced by
Screenplay byEvan Daugherty
Vanessa Taylor
Based onDivergent 
by Veronica Roth
Music byJunkie XL
CinematographyAlwin H. Küchler
Editing byRichard Francis-Bruce
StudioRed Wagon Entertainment
Summit Entertainment
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release dates
Running time139 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$85 million[2]
Box office$258,615,000[3]
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Lead characters Tris and Four stand above a futuristic Chicago.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNeil Burger
Produced by
Screenplay byEvan Daugherty
Vanessa Taylor
Based onDivergent 
by Veronica Roth
Music byJunkie XL
CinematographyAlwin H. Küchler
Editing byRichard Francis-Bruce
StudioRed Wagon Entertainment
Summit Entertainment
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release dates
Running time139 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$85 million[2]
Box office$258,615,000[3]

Divergent is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film is the first installment in the Divergent film series and was produced by Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian, and Douglas Wick, with a screenplay by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor.[4] It stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, and Kate Winslet.[5][6]

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago[7] where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Beatrice Prior is warned that she is Divergent and thus will never fit into any one of the factions and soon learns that a sinister plot is brewing in her seemingly perfect society. The film was released on March 21, 2014, in the United States.[8] A sequel, Insurgent, is scheduled to be released on March 20, 2015.[9]


In a futuristic dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave), based on their aptitude tests. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) has grown up in Abnegation, the faction that is selfless (that helps the poor and looks after the factionless) and runs the government, though she has always been fascinated by Dauntless. Her father, Andrew (Tony Goldwyn), serves on the ruling council along with the head of Abnegation, Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson).

Each year, 16-year olds undergo a serum-based aptitude test that indicates the faction into which they would best fit, and informs their choice at the Choosing Ceremony. Beatrice takes the test with Dauntless woman Tori (Maggie Q) as her proctor. Her test shows attributes of several factions (Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless), meaning she is Divergent. Tori records her result as Abnegation, and warns her to keep the true result secret, telling her that since Divergents can think independently and the government cannot control their thinking, they are considered threats to the social order.

The next day at the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice's brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite, while with hesitation, Beatrice chooses Dauntless. After the ceremony, Beatrice meets Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and Al (Christian Madsen), two Candors who chose Dauntless, and Will (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), an Erudite who also chose Dauntless. The Dauntless initiates are given tests such as jumping from a train running at full speed and taking a leap of faith from a tall building into a large hole. During these tests, the initiates meet Eric (Jai Courtney), a brutal young leader of Dauntless, and Four (Theo James), an initiates instructor. Beatrice volunteers first to jump off the building and leap into the hole, which has her branded as First Jumper. After the jump, when Four asks her name, Beatrice decides to shorten it to "Tris".

Tris initially struggles in Dauntless training, but slowly improves. After being forced to fight with her enemy Peter (Miles Teller) and being hospitalized, Tris almost fails out of Dauntless, but redeems herself by playing a key role in winning a capture-the-flag game.

After the physical stage of Dauntless training, the initiates are put into simulations in order to face their fears. Tris's divergence allows her to excel at these tests, but Four, who strikes up a relationship with Tris, warns her to conceal the reasons behind her success and to solve the challenges the way a true Dauntless would.

The next day, Tris visits her brother in Erudite, who tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow Abnegation and become the ruling faction. On her return to Dauntless headquarters, Tris is attacked, due to her success in training, with Peter, Al, and Drew attempting to throw her into the chasm. She is rescued by Four. Next day, Al pleads with Tris for her forgiveness but she refuses and calls him a coward. Later, she is shocked to learn Al has killed himself by jumping into the chasm. In preparation for her final test, Four takes Tris into his own fear simulations, where she finds out his real name is Tobias, and he is the son of Abnegation leader and head of government, Marcus Eaton. After the simulation, Four and Tris realize their feelings for each other and share a kiss. When the day of the test comes, Tris passes without revealing she is Divergent. During the post-test celebration, the Dauntless are injected with a serum which is said to be administered as a tracking device.

The next morning Tris quickly realizes the injection was actually a mind-control serum which Erudite is using to manipulate Dauntless into attacking Abnegation. Divergents are unaffected, so Tris and Four have to blend in. At Abnegation, Eric spots that Four is not under mind-control, and Four and Tris are caught and separated. Tris's mother Natalie (Ashley Judd) appears and rescues Tris, but dies while doing so. To stop Erudite's plan, Tris, her father, brother, and Marcus sneak into Dauntless headquarters. Seeing that Peter is not under the serum, Tris orders him to take them to Erudite's operations room. Her father sacrifices himself in a shootout. Tris goes in alone and finds Four, who is now under mind-control. After a fight she manages to make him come to his senses, knowing he cannot shoot her while looking at her face. Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is about to start the protocols that will make Dauntless kill Abnegation, but Tris throws a knife, stabbing her through the hand, then injects her with the serum and orders her to stop and then delete the program. Tris, Caleb, Peter, Four, and Marcus then flee Dauntless on the train, intending to ride to the end of the tracks.




In March 2011, Summit Entertainment picked up the rights for Divergent with Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher's production company Red Wagon Entertainment.[10] Neil Burger was announced as the director on August 23, 2012.[11] Evan Daugherty, who co-wrote the screenplay with Vanessa Taylor, said, "I get hung up on the toughness of the movie but of equal importance is the love story between Tris and Four. It's inherently and inextricably linked to Tris' character journey. There will be plenty of sexual tension and chemistry, but it's important that all of that stuff doesn't just feel like it's thrown in, but that it all helps Tris grow as a character."[12] Daugherty further added, "It's tricky because the book is a very packed read with a lot of big ideas. So, distilling that into a cool, faithful two-hour movie is challenging. Not only do you have to establish five factions, but you have to acknowledge that there's a sixth entity, which is the divergent, and you also have the factionless. So there's a world that really has to be built out for the big screen… the movie is going to do it a little more efficiently."[13] Author Veronica Roth said about the script of the film: "Reading a script is a really interesting experience. I'd never read a script before. I was really impressed by how closely it stuck to the general plot line of the book."[14]

Initially, the budget of the film was $40 million but later Lionsgate increased it to $80 million (which finally changed to $85 million) due to the success of The Hunger Games. Analyst Ben Mogil said, "Divergent is more similar to Hunger Games in that the company owns the underlying economics (i.e. production) and the budget (at $80[million]) is more manageable."[15]


On October 22, 2012 it was announced that Shailene Woodley had landed the lead role of Tris Prior.[16] Lucas Till, Jack Reynor, Jeremy Irvine, Alex Pettyfer, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Ludwig and Luke Bracey were all considered for the role of Tobias "Four" Eaton.[17][18] On March 15, 2013, it was announced that Theo James had been cast as Four.[19]

Though James was 10 years older than the character when cast, Roth praised his casting "I was sure within seconds: this was 'Four', no question. Theo is able to capture 'Four's' authority and strength, as well as his depth and sensitivity." She also mentions the chemistry between him and Shailene: "He is a perfect match for Shailene's incredibly strong presence as Tris. I'm thrilled!"[20] The producers said about his casting: "We took our time to find the right actor to fill the role of Four, and Theo is definitely the perfect fit. Veronica has crafted a truly iconic character in Four and we cannot wait to begin production and bring him and this story to life for millions of fans around the world."[19]

Ray Stevenson, Jai Courtney and Aaron Eckhart were announced to be in talks to join the cast on March 15, 2013,[21] Stevenson and Courtney joined the cast as Marcus Eaton and Eric, respectively.[22] Kate Winslet was announced to be in talks on January 24, 2013.[23] Later it was confirmed that she would portray Jeanine Matthews.[24] Talking about playing the negative character for the first time, Winslet said, "I'm no idiot. The idea went through my head that I have never played a baddie before, I was almost kind of surprised." Since Winslet joined the filming late, she used that distance from her co-stars to appear aloof on the first day of her shoot. "I wanted to break it and say, 'It's OK, I'm really fun. I promise.' But I thought, just for today, I'd let them think that I am a complete bitch."[25]


The Ferris wheel scene in Divergent was filmed at Navy Pier.

Filming began in Chicago in April 2013 and concluded on July 16, 2013.[26][27][28] Virtually all production photography took place in Chicago; many of the interior locations were filmed at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.[29] Scenes for the "choosing ceremony" were shot at 17th Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago on East Wacker in downtown Chicago.[30] Filming also took place at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel; the entire area was treated with dirt and rust to appear more dystopian.[31] Additional scenes were shot at 57th Street and Ellis Avenue near University of Chicago,[32] at Federal Street where fake EL tracks were constructed[33] and at Michigan Avenue.[34]

For the Abnegation sector, the production team constructed the set on Wells Street in downtown Chicago.[35] In late June, filming took place at 1500 S Western Avenue and 600 S. Wells Street, Chicago.[36] In the last schedule, filming moved to the Chicago River and continued at Lake Street Bridge, Wacker Drive and LaSalle Street Bridge.[37] Filming wrapped on July 16, 2013.[38] However, on January 24, 2014, what is believed to be additional filming took place in Los Angeles and finished on January 26, 2014, which officially became the last day of shooting.[38]


Post-production work began after filming wrapped.[39] On July 18, Summit and Lionsgate issued a joint statement announcing the film would be released in IMAX format: "We're delighted to continue our successful collaboration with IMAX, with whom we have already partnered on the global blockbuster Hunger Games and Twilight Saga franchises, and we're especially pleased that we can introduce our newest young adult franchise, Divergent, to the movie going public in the premium IMAX format that celebrates its status as a special and memorable event."[40]


The score for Divergent was composed by Junkie XL along with Hans Zimmer (who executive produced the album). They both have previously worked together on music of different films. The soundtrack for the film was chosen by the music supervisor Randall Poster.[41][42] The original soundtrack was released on March 11, 2014 while the Original Score of the film was released on March 18, 2014, by Interscope Records.[43][44]



The first image of Shailene Woodley as Beatrice "Tris" Prior was revealed by Entertainment Weekly on April 24, 2013.[45] A few seconds sneak preview footage of the film was shown at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[46] On June 7, Entertainment Weekly released a still of Theo James (Four) showing the Dauntless initiates around their new headquarters.[47] The magazine released several more stills on July 19.[48] On July 16, USA Today released the first image of Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews.[25]

On July 18, 2013 Summit held a sold-out San Diego Comic-Con panel in Hall H. Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Maggie Q, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller, Christian Madsen, director Neil Burger, and author Veronica Roth attended the panel and answered fan questions along with showing them exclusive film clips.[49]

On August 22, 2013 a sneak peek of the first teaser trailer was released by MTV.[50][51][52] The full teaser was released on August 25, 2013 during the pre-show of the MTV Video Music Awards.[53][54][55] Two official posters featuring Woodley and James as Tris and Four and highlighting their tattoos were released on September 23, 2013.[56][57] Neil Burger released the full official trailer on November 13, 2013.[58][59] On February 4, 2014 Shailene Woodley and Theo James released the final trailer for the film, during their appearance for film's promotion at Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[60]

The marketing campaign for the film cost at least $50 million.[61]


On its first day of advance ticket sales, the film sold half of its tickets.[62] It also became the biggest advance ticket seller on Fandango, surpassing by nearly five-fold Summit Entertainment's 2008 film Twilight.[63][64]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $4.9 million in late night screenings, on Thursday March 20, 2014.[9] On its opening day, the film grossed $22.8 million in United States including the Thursday night gross.[65][66][67] Divergent accumulated $54,607,747 from 3,936 theaters at an average of $13,873 per theater, on its opening weekend in the United States and Canada[68][69][70] and grossed $1.7 million Internationally from 4 territories, with worldwide total of $56,307,747.[71][72][73] It ranked first on its opening weekend, in domestic and worldwide box office rankings by Rentrak.[74][75]

As of May 15, 2014 the film earned a worldwide total of $258,615,000.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Divergent has received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 41% rating based on reviews from 189 critics, with an average score of 5.4/10. The site's consensus states: "With an adherence to YA formula that undercuts its individualistic message, Divergent opens its planned trilogy in disappointingly predictable fashion."[76] Metacritic gives the film a score of 48 based on reviews from 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[77] Audiences surveyed by Cinemascore were more receptive to the film, giving it a CinemaScore grade of "A". The survey group was 69% female and half of the audience was over 25.[78][79]

IGN's Matt Patches gave it 5.8 out of 10, citing its similarities to other young adult films and contrived Dauntless plot line. He praised lead actors Theo James and Shailene Woodley's performances, stating that they "...add personality and physicality to the limp script they're acting out."[80] Scott Mendelson of Forbes magazine echoed these sentiments, arguing that despite Woodley's excellent performance, the generic story reduced a large portion of the mythology to irrelevancy. Mendelson believed that the film will please the novel's fanbase.[81]

Andrew Osmond of SFX Magazine was more receptive to the film calling it "an often entertaining, and sometimes very interesting, piece of teen SF".[82] Andy Lea of Daily Star wrote that "the satire is not as sharp as that of The Hunger Games and the training scenes borrow heavily from the much smarter Ender's Game. But it's also stylish, tense and surprisingly pacy."[83] Orlando Weekly's Sam Allard gave the film a 3/5 rating, praising Shailene Woodley's performance Allard said that "with her performance as Tris Prior in Divergent, Woodley rescues and then raises up a film that could have been an utter disaster."[84] Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com agreed with this statement writing that "the performances -- namely from stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James and Kate Winslet in a juicy supporting role -- always make the movie watchable and often quite engaging."[85] Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post felt that the film surpassed it's source material writing that "it’s rare that a movie is as good as the book on which it’s based. It’s even more unusual when it’s better."[86]

The Playlist's Todd Gilchrist gave it a mixed review saying that it has "...great ideas...and some terrific character work, but it’s given such uneven attention, alternately languished upon and glossed over."[87]


On May 7, 2013, Summit Entertainment revealed that a sequel, based on Insurgent, is already in the works. Brian Duffield, writer of Jane Got a Gun, has been hired to write the script.[88] The sequel is scheduled to be released on March 20, 2015. The third film, based on Allegiant, was initially announced as a single film scheduled for release on March 18, 2016.[89][90] Neil Burger will not return for the sequels.[91] On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Robert Schwentke will take Burger's place for the next installment.[92][93] On March 21, 2014, Lionsgate officially greenlit the film adaptation of Insurgent.[9] On April 11, 2014, Summit Entertainment announced that the third film would split into two films titled Allegiant — Part 1 and Allegiant — Part 2, with Part 2 scheduled to released on March 24, 2017.[94] Insurgent will begin filming in Atlanta on May 27, 2014.[95]


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External links[edit]