Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Divergent" leads with $56 million, "Muppets Most Wanted" disappoints, "God's Not Dead" surprises at weekend box office

After two years of YA disappoints at the box office (Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy), we finally have found another franchise that might be able to go toe-to-toe with The Hunger Games and Twilight. Divergent, the first film in a planned trilogy, opened to $56 million, which is by far the highest opening for a YA book adaptation that wasn't related to The Hunger Games, Harry Potter or Twilight. And while box office pundits were expecting a little bit more from Divergent, it's still a great opening. The film also received an "A" Cinemascore, which points to good word of mouth in the future. With only an $85 million budget, Divergent should be able to make more than enough money for Summit. They're obviously counting on that because the sequel, Insurgent, goes into production in May and is set for a March 20, 2015 release.

Disney's Muppets Most Wanted finished in second place with an underwhelming $16.5 million. That's lower than its predecessor's $29 million opening and a pretty disappointing start for the film. The film also received a weak "B+" Cinemascore, which isn't a good sign. With a $50 million budget and the possibility of weak international grosses, it will be interesting to see if The Muppets get another sequel. Another contributing factor to Muppets Most Wanted's disappointing opener was the competition of films like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which finished in third place this weekend with $11.7 million. That's a 46% drop from last weekend. Mr. Peabody and Sherman has now grossed $81 million. It should finish with $100 million or more.

300: Rise of an Empire took a 55% hit and fell to fourth place this weekend with $8.6 million. The $110 million Warner Bros. release has now grossed $93.7 million and will surely finish with around $115 million. Rise of an Empire's international grosses have also been strong and the film has now grossed $289.1 million. In fifth place was God's Not Dead, the weekend's biggest surprise. The faith based Freestyle release grossed $8.5 million, which was very impressive. Freestyle says that they intend to expand the film into more theaters next weekend.

Need for Speed took a steep hit this weekend and finished in sixth place with $7.7 million. The action film has now grossed $30.4 million domestically, but worldwide, Need for Speed has grossed a total of $126.5 million. With only a $66 million budget, I'm betting on a sequel for Need for Speed. In seventh place was Fox Searchlight's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which impressed again this weekend with $6.7 million in 304 theaters. I really loved the film despite a couple of flaws and hope that it continues to be a success. The Grand Budapest Hotel is expanding into over 800 theaters next weekend and has grossed $12.9 million so far.

Non-Stop finished in eighth place with $6.3 million. The Universal release has now grossed $78.6 million, which is very impressive. If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend checking it out before it leaves theaters. The LEGO Movie finished in ninth place with $4.1 million. The film has now grossed $243.3 million and will probably crawl its way to $250 million. Finally, Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club rounded out the top ten with $3.1 million, which was enough to raise its total to $12.9 million.

Next weekend sees the release of Noah and Sabotage along with the expansion of Bad Words and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Here are my predictions:

1. Noah- $49.5 million
2. Divergent- $27.5 million
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel- $10.1 million
4. Muppets Most Wanted- $8.9 million
5. Sabotage- $8.5 million
6. Bad Words- $7.6 million
7. God's Not Dead- $7.5 million
8. Mr. Peabody and Sherman- $7 million
9. 300: Rise of an Empire- $5.1 million
10. Need for Speed- $3.9 million

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