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: Read More »
Divergent had a fantastic start last night for Summit (Lionsgate’s company), pulling in $4.9M in late-night Thursday screenings that began at 8 PM. That is one of the best preview numbers in recent memory, and compares to starts like Universal’s Despicable Me 2 at $4.7 million and World War Z at $3.6M and went onto gross $66.4M with a similar demographic. DM2 went onto gross $83.5M but that was fueled by family audiences. The action/adventure film, based on the 2011 Veronica Roth novel of the same name, is appealing to the twenty-something crowd who drive the box office on these kinds of films; it was produced by Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher and Pouya Shahbazian. Interestingly, the book doesn’t have the same kind of readership/fan base as say Hunger Games or even Vampire Diaries, so if this movie opens to its expected $50M-$60M+ (as it has been tracking to over the last couple of weeks), it will be a testament to the efforts of Summit who began marketing this title last July at ComicCon and then placed the trailer before Hunger Games: Catching Fire so it got tons of exposure for those perhaps not familiar with the Roth book. They have also been pushing on social media, but Divergent (starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James) is no Hunger Games. Checking in with social engagement experts RelishMix, “Divergent‘s social engagement is less than 50% (of Hunger Games) with heavy paid impressions not converting to social sharing,” said CEO Marc Karzen. And that is a key marketing indicator as the twenty-somethings who live on social platforms.
Advanced tickets went on sale on March 4 and pre-sales on Fandango sold out half of its tickets in one day, outpacing the first days of sales for the first Twilight when it began its pre-sales, however as we’ve said before no one is expecting this to be a Twilight opening which bowed to $69.6M in its first 3-day with $7M coming from midnight screenings. Also, the first Hobbit grossed $13M in early shows and the second The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug earned $8.8M in early shows and went on to open at $73.6M . The second opened to Divergent will play on 3,936 screens, 346 of which will be IMAX. It will bow internationally on April 4. Read More »
Here’s a full trailer for Disney‘s Muppets Most Wanted, which finds an evil Kermit doppelganger taking his place with Miss Piggyand company while Kermit rots in a Russian prison. The Muppets director James Bobin returns for the globe-trotting caper, which he co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and a gaggle of celebs turn up in the March 21 release. Watch the trailer: