‘Insurgent’ Director Robert Schwentke Returning for ‘Allegiant Part 1′

In a sign of confidence about the prospects for the Divergent franchise, Lionsgate is bringing back “Insurgent” director Robert Schwentke to direct the third film in the franchise, officially titled The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1.

Schwentke is in post-production on Insurgent, which wrapped in September in Atlanta and has a March 20 release date. The German director, whose credits include Flightplan,Red and R.I.P.D., took on the Insurgent gig early this year after Divergent director Neil Burger had opted out due to the compressed schedule.

Lionsgate saw solid returns from Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, with $151 million domestically and another $138 million internationally.

Allegiant_novel_coverAllegiant: Part 1 will be released on March 18, 2016, followed by Part 2 a year later.

Lionsgate decided in April to make two films from Allegiant, the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy — following the same strategy it used for the Twilight and The Hunger Games franchises.

The story is set in a dystopian world in which people are divided into five separate factions and those who are Divergent are hunted and killed by the ruthless leaders of the Erudite faction. After the rising conflicts in Insurgent, Woodley’s character faces impossible choices about courage, allegiance and love.

Besides Woodley and James, returning cast members include Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer and Zoe Kravitz. Noah Oppenheim, whose credits include Maze Runner, is writing the script.

Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are return to produce through their Red Wagon Entertainment banner. Erik Feig and Gillian Bohrer will be overseeing the project for Lionsgate’s Summit label.

The release of Divergent has helped fuel book sales, which have gone from 17 million when the film was released in March to more than 30 million. Online fans have tripled during that period to more than 6 million.

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