When the trailer for the upcoming YA blockbuster series Divergent first dropped, there were many people who began excitedly counting down the days until the film was released in theaters. But there were just as many people who were left scratching their heads in confusion. "It looks really cool," they thought, "but I'm not sure I know what's going on. Is she in a dream world? Are they really drowning her? Why is everyone lining up to have knives thrown at their heads? Doesn't that seem a little reckless? It seems like the kind of movie I would want to see, but I just don't get the premise of it."
If you happen to be someone who's struggling to keep all of the factions straight, or can't seem to make heads-or-tails of why Kate Winslet is supposed to be so intimidating, was just too distracted by all of the train-jumping and gun-loading that you've missed an important plot point, consider this your lucky day. We've taken the time to break down the difference between Dauntless and Abnegation and explained why it's such a big deal that Tris is Divergent so that when March 21 rolls around, you'll be able to sit back and enjoy the action without getting lost. Or, you know, finally undertsand what's happening in that trailer.
So, Divergent is based on a book series, right? Yes. It’s a dystopian YA trilogy written by Veronica Roth. The books are called Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant.
Like The Hunger Games? They’re both dystopian trilogies, but other than that, no, not really.
Can you sum up the premise of Divergent in only one sentence? That’s a bit difficult, as there are a lot of different elements to the plot, but we’ll give it a shot: In a world where everyone is divided up into groups, one girl discovers that she doesn’t fit into just one category, and it’s a secret she must guard with her life.
Who’s the girl? Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, the 16 year-old protagonist of the series.
Who’s going to play her in the film? Shailene Woodley
And where is Tris’ story set? In a dystopian future version of Chicago, IL
What do you mean by ‘dystopian’? In the world of Divergent, the entire population is divided up into 5 different groups, or factions, based on their dominant personality traits. If you don’t belong to any of these groups, because you’ve been kicked out or you refused to choose one, you are then considered factionless, and therefore abandoned to survive on your own.
So, it’s important to belong to a faction? Very. Without a faction, you don’t have a community of people who will protect you and look out for you, and the government essentially wants nothing to do with you.
Kind of like The Hunger Games, then? A little bit. Anyway, stop bringing up The Hunger Games. Let’s just focus on Divergent for now.
Okay, fine. What are the different factions?The five factions are Dauntless for the brave, Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, and Erudite for the intelligent.
And how do they determine who is part of what faction? When you turn 16, you take a test that tells you which faction you belong in based on your personality.
What, like a Scantron? Or one of those BuzzFeed quizzes? Not exactly. The test is made up of different simulations, which allows them to determine which aspects of your personality are most dominant, based on the way that you respond to certain situations.
And who gives the test? Tris is given the test by a woman named Tori. She’s played by Maggie Q in the films.
So, is this like Hogwarts, where you’re just part of the general population until you get assigned to your faction? No, people are born into whatever faction their parents are in. Then, after they take their tests, they can choose to remain in the faction, or, if the results place them someplace else, they can choose to leave their birth faction for a different one.
I’m not quite sure I follow you. Take Tris and her brother, Caleb, for example: they were both born into the Abnegation faction, and then after their tests, Tris chooses Dauntless and Caleb chooses Erudite.
And who's playing Caleb? Ansel Elgort
Wait, isn’t he in that other movie with Shailene Woodley?Yes, After they filmed Divergent, they were both cast in The Fault in Our Stars, where Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster and Elgort plays Augustus Waters.
Aren’t they in love in that one? Yeah, but it’s okay. Caleb doesn’t play a huge role in this installment, so you shouldn’t have trouble keeping the characters separate, or feeling too creepy.
Getting back on topic, then: Where does Tris get placed by the test? Instead of being placed in one faction, the test shows that Tris has equal aptitude for three of them – Dauntless, Abnegation and Erudite – which means she’s Divergent.
And that’s a bad thing? Yes. Tris must keep her divergence a secret in order to keep the faction leaders from finding out.
Why, what happens if they find out? They will most likely try to kill her. Divergents are rare, and Divergents who split the results three ways are even more so, and so the government tries to eliminate them so they don’t cause problems.
How does she keep anyone from finding out that she’s Divergent? She covers it up by picking only one faction to belong to.
So, after Tris chooses Dauntless, then what happens? After you pick your faction, you undergo an initiation process. Since Dauntless is all about bravery, Tris’ initiation involves fighting, fear-inducing simulations, and feats of physical endurance. When the testing is done, she needs to be one of the top 10 initiates in order to take her place in the faction; otherwise, she becomes factionless.
And who’s giving that test? Four, the Initiate Instructor. He will be played by Theo James.
His name is Four?Yes.
Are there any other initiates I should know about? She’s initiated with a pretty big group, but the two most important characters to know going into the film are Christina (Zoe Kravitz), who becomes one of Tris’ closest friends and Peter (Miles Teller), who spends all of his time terrorizing Tris.
Why would he do that? Partly because he’s worried that she’s outranking him in the challenges and he wants to be the best, but mostly because he’s a huge jerk.
Wait, wasn't he in that other movie with Shailene Woodley?Yes, The Spectacular Now.
Aren't they in love in that one?!Yes. She's very lovable.
Okay. Well, I think I’ve got the faction stuff down, but what about the government? Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of revolution or uprising? That comes later in the series, and we wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. For now, all you need to worry about is Jeanine, the leader of the Erudite, who is attempting to seize power. She’s the main enemy of Tris and the Dauntless faction.
And she’s the one played by Kate Winslet? She is indeed.
Wait, so, this movie’s just about Tris joining the faction? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of action and excitement from her initiations process, and the government threat is there throughout. That particular plot just doesn’t kick off until towards the end of the book/film.
But what about romance? Does Tris have a love interest? I’m only interested in Divergent if I get to ship something. Tris and Four’s romance plays a role in the series as a whole.
Wait, it’s just Four? There’s no childhood best friend who needs to compete with him for Tris’ affections? It’s just Four.
So there’s no love triangle? No, thank god.
Can you please tell me why his name is Four? Trust us, that's not a particularly interesting reveal.
Fine. So, if I’ve got the factions down, and I understand Divergence, and I know who the hero and the villain are, is there anything else I should know before I see the film? Nope, you should be all caught up and ready for the movie!
And when does the movie come out? Divergent is released on March 21.
And if I wanted to watch the trailer again, now that I finally get what's going on? You can check it out here:
Divergent hits theaters March 21. You can check showtimes and purchase advanced tickets at Movietickets.com.
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Swordfish was the weekend's biggest catch in this weekend's choppy box office waters.
In a weekend marked by surprisingly large percentage declines across the board, Swordfish outperformed expectations. The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow film flew much higher on Hollywood's radar screen than insiders had anticipated.
Overall, key films grossed about $94 million, down sharply by over 22% from last week and up only a marginal 1.4% from last year. Insiders attributed the hefty percentage declines this weekend to a number of possible factors, including competition from televised basketball and hockey playoffs, widespread good weather and a concentration of high school proms.
"It was interesting to see the number of graduations and proms that actually fell on this weekend while normally they're spread out a little," one top distributor pointed out. "I think people were tied up with a lot of family events this weekend. The weather back East was fantastic. And you had the NBA game on Friday and again today and you had the final game of the hockey playoffs, Game Seven, on Saturday. It was just a combination of things. Never is there one thing -- unless it's the Super Bowl -- that impacts the business like this. And that's just a one day thing.
"To give you an idea, on Friday of the pictures in the marketplace already, other than the two new pictures (that opened), all the pictures were off 47 percent (on average) on Friday night and off 51 percent (on average) on Saturday. That's way out of line from the norms. Most of the time you don't see one weekend dive so much from, like, the first weekend in June to the second weekend in June."
Nonetheless, the weekend saw Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures' R rated action drama Swordfish made a big first place splash with a tasty ESTIMATED $18.43 million at 2,678 theaters ($6,882 per theater).
Swordfish's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by Dominic Sena and produced by Joel Silver and Jonathan Krane, it stars John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle.
Reflecting on how well Swordfish kicked off, Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning, "You have to just take a look at the demographics out there. All these movies were going after different audiences than ours. No question about it, the tracking once again proves that it doesn't always work. We came through. We're very, very happy about it. Now we're focusing on our second week."
Considering the competition from televised sports and a marketplace crowded with other films -- including DreamWorks' blockbuster Shrek, which many observers were predicting would move up from second place to capture top honors this weekend -- Fellman noted, "I think we beat the odds. We won the weekend certainly despite the NBA finals, which certainly hurt the box office on Friday and will again on Sunday."
Audience reaction, he added, "was really terrific. Our exits were great. The audience was 56% male and 44% female and they liked the movie equally, so that's very nice. This is the seventh motion picture in a row produced byJoel Silver that opened Number One in the marketplace.
"The studio's thrilled. It's nice to be in the John Travolta business when he's hot. We had a great cast (besides Travoltawith) Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle. These guys did a good job. And Dominic Sena made a good movie. And, of course, we have our production partners Village Roadshow in this movie, who deserve a tip of the hat."
Swordfish, Fellman said, "is John's third largest opening in his career. Face/Off is his biggest opening at $23.3 million. The General's Daughter is his second biggest at $22.3 million. Michael did $17 million, so this comes in (third). If you look at the (marketplace) for those movies in those days, there wasn't the enormous amount of competition the same weeks. They were generally free of competition. So (with Swordfish doing so well with a lot of competition now), it shows some strength for the movie."
As to where Swordfish might be heading, Fellman said it's too early to say at this point: "I think you need to sit back a little and digest the next weekend before we make predictions. We're off and running. It's a great opening for Warner Bros. and our summer. Our next movie is A.I. from Steven Spielberg and then we have also a terrific movie on July Fourth called Cats & Dogs.
"We're looking forward to a huge year and, of course, with Harry Potter (in November) and Oceans 11 (in December) and Majestic at Christmas and Collateral Damage (in October) and Training Day (in September), we're in good shape."
DreamWorks' PG rated computer animated blockbuster Shrek held on to second place in its fourth week, continuing to show great legs with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million (-39%) at 3,715 theaters (+54 theaters; $4,602 per theater). Its cume is approximately $176.6 million on its way to $250-270 million.
With its move up to 3,715 playdates, DreamWorks set a record for the largest number of locations any film has ever played in, beating the record set last year by Paramount's Mission: Impossible 2 with 3,669 locations.
Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, its voice talents include Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
"Two of the top five," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said Sunday morning, noting that the studio was very happy about its good showing with both Shrek and its opening of Evolution. "With that kind of weekend (where everything was down so much), we're actually pretty happy with both these numbers."
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' PG-13 rated three hour epic action romance Pearl Harbor dropped two fathoms to third place in its third weekend with a less lively $14.9 million (-50%) at 3,255 theaters (+41 theaters; $4,565 per theater). Its cume is approximately $144.1 million, heading for $200 million.
Directed by Michael Bay, Pearl was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay and written by Randall Wallace. Its extensive cast is led by Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and Alec Baldwin.
"It appears that we're going to play on the same exact formula that Lost World did," Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday morning. "Lost World was off 46-point-something percent and we're off 49.7 percent. It pretty much says that whatever the tracking of that particular movie was, that's the format we're going to find. Obviously, it takes you into the $200 millions."
Viane noted that there's a lot of competition in the marketplace from other films and that, "Part of it this weekend is that you've got (sports competition from) the Lakers on Friday and Sunday and you had the probably the first good weather in the East. But everybody was in that ballgame, so we're all equal (in terms of how it impacted)."
Viane pointed out that BV was also very pleased with its launch this weekend of Disney's PG rated animated adventure Atlantis in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. Atlantis did a staggering ESTIMATED $0.34 million at 2 theaters ($170,794 per theater).
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, its voice talents include Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer and Leonard Nimoy.
"What can I say other than, 'What a hell of a start?'" Viane observed.
Asked why BV had taken the exclusive engagements opening route with Atlantis that it had used years ago with its animated feature, Viane explained, "One of the greatest sales tools that a team has is when a movie plays really well. We had a sense that we'd get some really good critical reviews -- like Ebert and Roeper both gave it two thumbs up. We know the audience loves it. Any time you can get the people talking about your movie, then I think you've hit a home run. We knew very early on how much the public enjoys the movie. So we just decided to take a page out of our past and recreate it. It goes wide this Friday. I would imagine we'll approach 3,000 runs."
DreamWorks' and Columbia's PG-13 rated sci-fi comedy Evolution kicked off strongly in fourth place with a happy ESTIMATED $13.2 million at 2,611 theaters ($5,056 per theater).
Directed by Ivan Reitman, it stars David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore.
"Better than the tracking," DreamWorks' Jim Tharp said, noting that the film hadn't been expected to open this well. "And in a down weekend. We're pretty happy with the numbers based on the weekend that we're in."
Columbia's release of Revolution Studios PG-13 youth appeal comedy The Animal fell sharply in its second weekend, down two slots to fifth place with a quieter ESTIMATED $9.8 million (-50%) at 2,788 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,515 per theater). The film, which only cost $22 million to make, has a cume of approximately $35.8 million and is heading for $60-70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Luke Greenfield, it stars Rob Schneider.
"I think the drops (this weekend) were universally higher than what everyone would have liked," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
"I think we can safely attribute that (to) the lovely weather that almost seems for the first time to be crossing the country this weekend. I think everybody lost a few points due to the weather this weekend."
20th Century Fox's PG-13 rated romantic musical drama Moulin Rouge slid two notches in its fourth week (its second in wide release) with an okay ESTIMATED $7.62 million (-44%) at 2,283 theaters (+4 theaters; $3,336 per theater). Its cume is approximately $27.5 million.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.
"Everybody (is down a lot this weekend). I'd be killing myself if it was only us," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said Sunday morning, pointing to some even steeper declines than Moulin's. "Otherwise, I'd be going 'Geez! 44 percent!' I think it's just the weekend. In order to expand the market for another $35 million to take in Swordfish and Evolution, everybody took a hit."
Is Moulin's 44 percent drop cause for alarm? "I really don't think so," Snyder replied. "What it's saying it's the end of is the weak sister theaters that we've had. They'll be disappearing quickly. But where this picture is working, it's still got some great numbers. The individual numbers are terrific. What you're finding in cities is one run is absolutely gangbusters, kicking butt -- usually in the most sophisticated zone -- and the blue collar zones are (not nearly as good). So we'll end up losing those and keeping the solid ones. We've got a long way to go."
MGM's PG-13 comedy What's The Worst that Could Happen? tumbled two pegs to seventh place in its second weekend with a less funny ESTIMATED $5.4 million (-58%) at 2,675 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,019 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.2 million.
Directed by Sam Weisman, it stars Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito.
Universal's PG-13 rated adventure blockbuster sequel The Mummy Returns fell three pegs to eighth place in its sixth week with an okay ESTIMATED $4.15 million (-46%) at 2,539 theaters (-665 theaters; $1,635 per theater). Its cume is approximately $188.2 million, heading for $200 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers, Mummy stars Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz and features an appearance by wrestling star The Rock.
Columbia's PG-13 rated youth appeal adventure A Knight's Tale slid two notches to ninth place in its fifth week with a calm ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-50%) at 1,850 theaters (-591 theaters; $919 per theater). Tale, which cost only $41 million to produce, has a cume of approximately $52.7 million and is heading for $60 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, Tale stars Heath Ledger.
Rounding out the Top Ten was the R rated romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Diary from Miramax Films, Universal Pictures, StudioCanal and Working Title, down two rungs in its ninth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $1.2 million (-40%) at 975 theaters (-326 theaters; $1,230 per theater). Its cume is approximately $67.4 million, heading for $70 million in domestic theaters.
Having only cost about $25 million to produce, Bridget will be very profitable.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, Bridget stars Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Fine Line Features' R rated comedy The Anniversary Party to an encouraging ESTIMATED $0.16 million at 11 theaters ($14,790 per theater).
Written and directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, its ensemble cast includes Jane Adams, Jennifer Beals, Phoebe Cates, Alan Cumming, Kevin Kline, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gwyneth Paltrow, Parker Posey and John C. Reilly.
Paramount Classics' romantic drama Bride of the Wind opened to an okay ESTIMATED $0.035 million at 8 theaters ($4,420 per theater).
Directed by Bruce Beresford, it stars Sarah Wynter, Jonathan Pryce and Vincent Perez.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Miramax's R rated French thriller With a Friend Like Harry... continue to widen in its eighth week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.19 million (-3%) at 99 theaters (+28 theaters; $1,865 per theater). Its North American cume is approximately $2.1 million.
Harry is being released under Miramax's French film banner Miramax Zoe.
Directed by Dominik Moll, it stars Laurent Lucas, Sergi Lopez, Mathilde Seigner and Sophie Guillemin.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $94.11 million, up a marginal 1.38% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $92.83 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 22.23% from last weekend this year when key films took in $121.02 million.
Last year, Buena Vista's opening week of Gone In 60 Seconds was first with $25.34 million at 3,006 theaters ($8,428 per theater; and Paramount's third week of Mission: Impossible 2 was second with $17.23 million at 3,669 theaters ($4,696 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $42.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $35.5 million.
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