Lionsgate Studios is counting on 22-year-old actress Shailene Woodley to carry the huge, three-part "Divergent" film franchise based on Veronica Roth's best-selling trilogy set in a future dystopia.
Woodley was apparently the "first and only choice" for the role of Beatrice "Tris" Prior, and the studio was willing to shell out a $250,000 - $500,000 paycheck to get Woodley on-board for the first installment alone.
If all goes well at the box office after the film's March 21 opening — which it's on track to do— Woodley will have the bargaining power to negotiate a much higher salary for the sequels.
23-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, for example, earned $500,000 for the first "Hunger Games," but after the film earned a whopping $691 million at the box office, she scored $10 million for the second installment, "Catching Fire."The Hollywood Reporter notes that the higher figure "is a combination of salary, bonuses and escalators."
Producer Alix Madigan, who has worked with both Lawrence and Woodley, tells THR, "Their career trajectories are similar in the sense of doing independent films and then going on to the YA franchise. I think Shailene certainly has the talent and the charisma and the inherent likability to follow in Jennifer's footsteps."
Similarly, Kristen Stewart, 23, also started her career in indie films such as "Into The Wild," but everything changed when she landed the role of Bella Swan in 2008's "Twilight."
After the initial film raked in nearly $393 million globally, Stewart was able to negotiate an unprecedented $25 million paycheck against 7.5% of the theatrical gross for the franchise's final two "Breaking Dawn" sequels.
So if the "Divergent" readers translate into box office ticket sales as expected, Shailene Woodley should be able to negotiate a hefty paycheck for the second and third installments, "Insurgent" and "Allegiant," slated for release in March 2015 and March 2016.