Lionsgate execs had to do a little balancing act this morning when they talked to Wall Street analysts about the early plans for the movie version of author Veronica Roth’s Divergent. They clearly want investors to salivate over the prospect of another hit on the order of The Hunger Games. But they don’t want the Street to believe that the studio will blithely slap the Divergent name on the Hunger Games playbook. CEO Jon Feltheimer noted that, like Hunger Games, the new film — also based on a book series for children and young adults that anticipates a dystopian future — will open in mid-March (specifically, March 21, 2014). Divergent’s book sales “are approaching the 3M mark and continue to compare favorably to The Hunger Games and Twilight franchises at a similar point in their trajectory,” he says. But Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman says he recognizes key differences in the stories, and their fan bases. In Divergent “the society is different,” he says. Hunger Games “is about the society that’s striving for survival” while Divergent “is about the way a society is surviving with distinct personalities and how those personalities interweave with each other.” Not sure that I get the distinction, but the analyst who asked the question called the insight “helpful.”

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