Initiates, we have even more great news: for it’s opening weekend, Divergent made $56 million, making it the #1 movie in the U.S.! And as we’ve already mentioned here, Lionsgate has officially greenlit Insurgent! Check out the article below from USA Today that gives the details of Divergent’s box-office success.
USA Today: Divergent broke from the box-office pack this weekend and, while not as strong a debut as Twilight or The Hunger Games, likely spawned a young-adult franchise.
The best-seller adaptation captured $56 million, according to studio estimates from Rentrak.
The debut fell in line with most analysts’ expectations, though short of the openings of 2008’s Twilight ($70 million) and 2012’s The Hunger Games ($153 million). Both would launch juggernaut franchises.
While the $85 million Divergent didn’t capture those kind of numbers, the opening was plenty enough to claim the box office, and analysts say the haul likely ensures an adaptation of Veronica Roth’s entire trilogy. Production work has begun on the next chapter, Insurgent, expected March 20, 2015.
“A franchise is born,” says Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian. “Most franchises are started by solid, but not necessarily record, all-time debuts.”
The opening breaks the string of young-adult films that flopped before they could launch franchises, including The Host, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Ender’s Game.
“This is finally a novel adaptation that built a solid fan base and is more than a Twilight redux,” says Tim Briody, analyst for Box Office Prophets.
“It’s not on the same level as Twilight or The Hunger Games,” he says. But the opening is strong “for a new intellectual property with few big names in the cast … and bodes well for the future.”
Critical praise didn’t exactly converge on the film: Just 40% of reviewers recommended it, says survey site Rotten Tomatoes.
But fans were over the moon. According to distributor Lionsgate, which also released Twilight and Hunger, the movie scored an A-minus with all viewers, and an A-plus with the critical under-18 demographic. The audience was 59% female, the studio says.
The news wasn’t so bright for Muppets Most Wanted. The sequel claimed $16.5 million and second place, well below its $26 million projections. Among critics and fans, about 77% gave it a thumbs-up, Rotten Tomatoes says.
“That’s bad news for what was thought to be a rejuvenated franchise,” Briody says.
The biggest surprise of the weekend was God’s Not Dead, the independent religious film released on only 780 screens. The movie, starring Kevin Sorbo in the tale of a college freshman wrangling with faith, did $8.6 million, taking fifth place.
The animated comedy Mr. Peabody & Sherman was third with $11.7 million, while 300: Rise of an Empire took fourth with $8.7 million.