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'Divergent' sequel moving forward; set for release in March 2015

The sequel to 'Divergent' is set to begin filming in May, with theatrical release set for March 2015.
The sequel to 'Divergent' is set to begin filming in May, with theatrical release set for March 2015. Summit Entertainment

After earning an estimated $4.9 million in early Thursday night showings, Lionsgate has given the green light to production on the Divergent sequel, Insurgent.

Divergent is based on the first book in a best-selling YA trilogy by Veronica Roth, and hits theaters today. Select showings began at 8:00 pm Thursday night, and already ticket sales are strong enough (and fan enthusiasm, too), that the studio is already moving forward officially on the sequel. It's expected Divergent will bring in approximately $60 million this weekend, comparable to the opening of the first Twilight movie.

Lionsgate expects Insurgent to begin filming in May with new director Robert Schwentke (taking over for Neil Burger), with theatrical release set for March 2015. It's likely the third film, Allegiant, will follow in March 2016.

"We're confident that 'Divergent' is on its way to becoming another important franchise for us," said Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lionsgate, parent company of Summit Entertainment, which oversaw production of Divergent.

Lionsgate is already home to two of the biggest film franchises based on YA book series, The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games.