In recent years, Twilight and The Hunger Games have led a surge of young adult movie franchises. Many challengers (such as Mortal Instruments) never made it past the first film, while those that did (like The Maze Runner) have struggled to maintain audiences. And now comes word that the studio Lionsgate is planning to make the third film in the Divergent series for TV, followed by a spin-off series.

AllegiantAllegiant is the third installment of the Divergent series

While Divergent and its first sequel Insurgent were big hits, the third film Allegiant stumbled at the box office last year. The fourth and final chapter Ascendant was slated to open in June 2017 against Tom Cruise's remake of The Mummy and Brad Pitt's World War Z sequel. But word has it that Lionsgate has changed their plan.

This seems to have come as a surprise to series stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller. "Honestly, I was on a plane when all that happened," Woodley says. "And I landed, and I'm like, 'Whoa, what's going on?' I need to talk and find out what the details are!"

Basically, this is another sign that the industry is changing, shifting away from medium-sized movies to either surefire mega-budget blockbusters or tiny independent films. And it also reenforces the emergence of television as a place for those mid-range projects.

More: Watch the 'Allegiant' trailer

Lionsgate recently purchased the premium cable channel Starz as a platform for its own original movies and TV shows. And officials say they are looking at ways to extend their previous franchises, including both Twilight and The Hunger Games. And they're looking beyond TV to theme park rides and stage shows.

This kind of diversification has even been seen in the granddaddy of all kids' franchises, Harry Potter, which currently has a two-part play in London's West End, theme park attractions around the world and a spinoff prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set to launch a new franchise this autumn.

"I would say that there's no big franchise that any studio has that they're not trying to look at prequels, sequels, spinoffs, some version of that," says Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. "It's a great world."

The studio's Vice-Chairman Michael Burns agrees. "Great brands like this go on and on," he says, referring to Twilight, The Hunger Games and Divergent. He then mentions another franchise-launcher in production now: "We think Power Rangers is one of the world's greatest brands, and we're going to do well by it."