OPENING: Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) was expected at $53M to $55M+ and rose to $56M+ for the weekend, ended at $54.6; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) was tracking at $28M, then opened and was thought to be $18 to $19M, then ended at $17M; God’s Not Dead (FREESTYLE RELEASING) surprised everyone to take the No. 5 spot and a wicked $11K per screen. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands to 304 for a strong $22K per screen; Frozen drops out of Top Ten after 18 weeks in release.
6th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:45 PM: With an opening weekend of $54.6M, Lionsgate’s Divergent opened right in line with what it was tracking at, not $56M+ but still a strong opening for the start of another hopeful franchise for the company. It should get yet another good weekend as Spring Break swings into gear and before Captain America (DIS/MARVEL) debuts. The surprise of the weekend was the strong opening of faith-based film God’s Not Dead which debuted in No. 6 on Friday and ended up stepping up to No. 4 with a higher than expected gross on Sunday of $9.2M with a very hearty per screen average of $11,852. The question is, of course, its second weekend out and how much it will drop. Son of God from Fox took around a 60% hit on its second weekend out and Paramount Pictures’ Noah opens this weekend so it may sink to the bottom like a rock.
Muppets Most Wanted was a big disappointment for Disney, ending its opening weekend with $17M and change on a budget of $54M. Frozen is on PPV and hit the street on DVD this weekend so you have to wonder how much that took from its opening weekend. Same studio, too. And, as I said below, if Mr. Peabody, which took in $11.8M wasn’t in the marketplace wouldn’t Muppets have benefited that much more? Hopefully, for the filmmakers it will make some money in home entertainment. Exhibs wanted more family films in the first quarter and they got it, but the success of one film is gnawing the box office away for another. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those first quarter surprises for the industry. It opened in very limited release three weeks ago for a record-breaking $202K per screen and it just … won’t … quit. Fox Searchlight is expanding the Wes Anderson-directed pleaser to around 700 to 800 screens this weekend. Shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. Final Top 20 chart below: