In yet another film looking to be the next "Twilight," "Divergent," the first in a trilogy of young adult novels set in dystopian Chicago, will start filming here in April.
It's the first major movie project of the year to be based in Chicago.
The film is expected to generate $30 million in spending and -- unlike "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "The Dark Knight" -- it will be shot entirely in Chicago, including soundstage work at Cinespace (which is also currently home to the NBC series "Chicago Fire").
The announcement is big news for the local film industry. Lionsgate, the studio behind both "The Hunger Games" and the "Twilight" series, told investors in November that it is banking on local writer Veronica Roth's trilogy to become the next big franchise. Book sales so far back that up; as of last summer, "Divergent" (published in April 2011 and a New York Times best-seller) sold more than 1 million copies. According to The Wrap, that figure is ahead of where "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" were "at a similar point in their life cycles."
Roth's follow-up, "Insurgent," was released in 2012; the final book is expected later this year.
If "Divergent" does as well at the box office as Lionsgate hopes (it is set to open in March of 2014) that will likely mean Chicago has a lock on any sequels. Director Neil Burger ("Limitless" and "The Illusionist") and star Shailene Woodley ("The Descendents") will be in town shooting the first installment through June.
A Chicago native, Roth, 24, finished "Divergent" while an undergrad studying creative writing at Northwestern University. She currently lives in Chicago.
If nothing else, it's bound to be better than the latest "Transformers," right?
[Source: Chicago Tribune]