'Divergent' Scores Big While 'Muppets' Stumble
By ZACH SEEMAYER
March 23, 2014
Divergent scored big this weekend, toppling the first-weekend gross for the family-friendly Muppets Most Wanted, and pushing the animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the gore-soaked 300: Rise of an Empire systematically down the top ten list.
The Shailene Woodley-lead Divergent scored big this weekend with $56 million in its first three days. While some have said it fell a bit short of its projected $70 million opening that many analysts claimed it should have made, the opening was still one of the largest bows for a female-lead film based off young adult source material, behind Twilight and The Hunger Games.
The young adult genre, which had been so massively capitalized on since Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight raked in so much money, was beginning to seriously flounder, with recent attempts to capture the audience failing miserably. It's possible that Divergent's strong showing may breathe life into the genre that Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones had left gasping for air.
With a comparatively low $85 million budget, such a hugely strong weekend essentially assures that the film won't be a commercial failure, which is good news for the sequels that Lionsgate has already ordered. The film hasn’t gotten spectacular reviews, with only a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to The Hunger Games' 84 percent, however Twilight fared similarly (49 percent) and still became a cash cow for Summit Entertainment.
Muppets Most Wanted came in second with a very disappointing $16.5 million opening haul, meaning that it will have to display real staying power to even meet its $50 million budget. Some speculate that it could improve next week, when parents take their children who went to see Divergent this weekend. A similar response helped Mr. Peabody & Sherman to jump to the top spot in its second weekend.
By comparison, 2011's The Muppets, written and starring Jason Segel, opened to $41.5 million, however that was over an extended Thanksgiving Weekend.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman earned another $11.7 million, bringing its total to $81 million. Not a bad haul for most animated films, however Mr. Peabody cost an astounding $145 million.
300: Rise of an Empire scored another $8.6 million, down 54.9 percent from last weekend, to bring its domestic total to 93.7 million, coming close to its $110 million budget at home. However, adding its overseas earning, the worldwide total clocks in at an impressive $289.1 million.
The Kevin Sorbo-lead indie Christian drama God's Not Dead managed to place shockingly well into the top ten, scoring fifth place with $8.5 million. The film focuses on a student named Josh, played by Shane Harper, whose domineering philosophy professor (Sorbo) forces him and his classmates to sign a paper declaring that they believe "God is dead." Josh strikes a deal with his professor and challenges him to a series of debates so that Josh can prove his faith in God.
Willie Robertson, one of the stars of the massively-popular A&E reality series Duck Dynasty, makes a cameo appearance God's Not Dead.
Need For Speed came in sixth place, earning $7.7 million, bringing its total to $30.4 domestically off a $66 million budget. However, the film has managed to earn $96 million in foreign sales, bringing its total to $126.5 million.
In good news for Wes Anderson, his film The Grand Budapest Hotel opened in 234 additional theaters this week, and its weekend gross increased 85.5 percent, earning $6.7 million in only 304 theaters. Which means the film made $22,000 per screen.
Non-Stop, making $6.3 million, The LEGO Movie, nabbing $4.1 million, and Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club, earning $3.1 million, round out the top ten.
1. Divergent - $56 Million
2. Muppets Most Wanted – $16.5 Million
3. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $11.7 Million
4. 300: Rise Of An Empire – $8.6 Million
5. God's Not Dead – $8.5 Million
6. Need For Speed - $7.7 Million
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – $6.7 Million
8. Non-Stop - $6.3 Million
9. The LEGO Movie - $4.1 Million
10. Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club - $3.1 Million
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