Divergent, the next Hunger Games teen film smash?

Divergent, the next Hunger Games teen film smash?

LOS ANGELES - The studio that produced "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" is at it again: "Divergent" is the latest teen adventure saga with a fearless female heroine battling the odds in a post-apocalyptic future.

All eyes in Hollywood are on the box office fortunes of the movie, which hits theaters in the United States on Friday.

Adolescent adventures have made a mint for the Santa Monica-based studio Summit-Lionsgate: the five "Twilight" films earned $3.3 billion globally, while the two "Hunger Games" movies so far have taken in over US$1.5 billion (S$1.9 billion), and two more films are to follow.

Studios are keen to find successors to these mega-franchises based on best-selling Young Adult novels.

But some do better than others: Universal failed with "Beautiful Creatures," while The Weinstein Company had a flop with "Vampire Academy." "Divergent" features many of the main plot points that made "The Hunger Games" a blockbuster success: a future post-apocalyptic world, and a courageous teenaged girl aiming to save the world from tyrants.

Relative unknown Shailene Woodley - whose credits have so far come in independent films like "The Descendants" and "The Spectacular Now" - said she asked Oscar-winning "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence for tips before her leap into the commercial big leagues.

"I sent her an email. I was just curious, she had gone from doing indie films to doing 'Hunger Games,' which is a giant film obviously, and I wondered if it had changed her life in positive ways," Woodley told reporters.

Lawrence's reply? "She said, 'Don't do anything stupid. Don't do drugs. Don't make a sex tape. And don't go to (grocery chain) Whole Foods the day the movie opens," said the 22-year-old actress.

In "Divergent," set in Chicago, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, Dauntless for the brave and Erudite for the knowledgeable.

At the age of 16, every adolescent must choose their faction for life, helped by a personality test. But Woodley's character Tris turns out to be Divergent - a rare finding meaning she has the skills of several factions, not just one.

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