Weekend Box Office: Breaking Down ‘Divergent’ at #1, ‘Muppets 2’ is Weak & ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises

I’m not even sure the biggest story of the weekend is Divergent seeming to prove it’s the first young adult franchise since The Hunger Games to prove profitable, though the “A” CinemaScore certainly has me questioning the intelligence of today’s movie going audience once again. Instead it would seem the biggest surprise is God’s Not Dead coming out of nowhere with $9.2 million and a third place finish. I hadn’t even heard of the film until Saturday morning. Goes to show how much I’m paying attention to the faith-based movie market.

It’s probably best just to begin at the top and with Divergent, which brought in $54.6 million from 3,936 theaters. With an $85 million budget it still has some work to do and I’m really curious to see how it does overseas where it will open in the UK, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Mexico and Finland on April 4, and there are some things to consider when comparing this to Twilight or even Hunger Games.

The first Twilight cost only $37 million to make and brought in $69.6 million on its opening weekend. The first The Hunger Games did cost more at $78 million, but it brought in $152.5 million on its opening weekend. While Divergent‘s opening looks pretty good, it didn’t exceed expectations and it definitely didn’t bring in any kind of a new audience considering how bad it actually is. So… success? One thing we know is we can definitely expect Insurgent (production begins in May for March 20, 2015 release) and Allegiant, but will the sequels show any box office growth?

The demographic numbers are interesting when considering that question when you see audiences under the age of 18 gave the movie an “A+” CinemaScore, the gender split is no surprise at 59% female, the age breakdown was 50/50 over and under 25 and only 50% of Divergent‘s audience had read the book compared to 74% for Twilight and 76% for The Hunger Games. It’s that last stat that’s most interesting. Does this merely prove the book wasn’t as popular or those that read the book didn’t want to go see it?

In second was Muppets Most Wanted opened well below tracking where it was expected to generate a three day weekend in the low-to-mid $20s. Instead, a $17 million opening seems to suggest many were like me and just weren’t that interested in what appeared to be a sequel that seemed like something the studio felt “should” be made rather than the approach of wanting to be made such as the first one, which opened 42% higher at $29.2 million. The “B+” CinemaScore suggests about the same thing as well given audience penchant to inflate their grades.

Fourth is where you find God’s Not Dead, which opened in only 780 theaters and managed $9.2 million, which is stronger than 2008’s Kirk Cameron-led Fireproof, which went on to make $33.4 million on a budget of only $500,000. I don’t have any budgetary figures for this one, but I don’t think Kevin Sorbo has a very high asking price.

And Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel proves the director has another hit on his hands as it expanded into 304 theaters where it grossed $6.7 million for a $22,204 per theater average. It still has a ways to go before it tops Anderson’s highest grossing domestic release, The Royal Tenenbaums at $52.6 million, but it still has a lot more theaters to open in as well.

In other news, Veronica Mars: The Movie didn’t prove to have much of a shelf life, dropping 75% in its second weekend to $468,175. While this doesn’t take into account digital sales or upcoming DVD and Blu-ray sales (it hits store on May 6), this still means it’s likely to fall more than $2 million short of the $5.7 million it raised on Kickstarter. But hey, fans got their movie.

Next weekend sees the release of Noah and Sabotage in wide release, both of which I won’t be seeing until a week later due to scheduling difficulties, but I’m very interested in seeing both, but how will they perform?


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