Will audiences continue to come out for Lions Gate Entertainment's (LGF-A 13.77%) Divergent movie adaptation despite poor reviews? Host Ellen Bowman puts this question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.
Nathan says that there's already a built-in fan base for the series thanks to strong sales of author Veronica Roth's books. The first two novels -- Divergent and Insurgent -- had sold more than 2.6 million copies as of last year at this time. The third novel, Allegiant, is still third on Amazon.com's list of best sellers among teen science fiction and romance books. The Kindle e-book version ranks fourth overall among paid books, with Divergent and Insurgent taking the top two spots, respectively.
Tim notes that Divergent already boasts a rare 'A' CinemaScore, which should lead to positive buzz and a steady audience. Current tracking has the movie earning another $25 million at the U.S. box office over the weekend, putting its two-week total at about $94 million domestic. Foreign results are still largely unknown at this point.
What we do know, Tim says, is that investors have sold off shares of Lions Gate on expectations that Divergent movie franchise can't be what Twilight was or what The Hunger Games is. Maybe so, but Lions Gate has only had two strong, teen-driven franchises in theaters in the same year once before -- when The Hunger Games paired with Twilight: Breaking Dawn-Part 2. Spectacular results followed.
We'll see a similar pairing this November, when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 joins Divergent on this year's movie slate. Tim says the combination could create substantial upside for Lions Gate investors, especially if Divergent goes on to produce anywhere near what 2008's Twilight did.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Have you seen the Divergent movie? Do you plan to? Please watch the video as Ellen puts Tim and Nathan on the spot, and be sure to check back here often for more 1-Up On Wall Street segments.