News

‘Divergent’ tops weekend box office

‘Divergent’ tops weekend box office

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: This image released by Summit Entertainment shows Shailene Woodley, left, and Theo James in a scene from "Divergent." Photo: Associated Press

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dystopian thriller “Divergent,” the story of a society that divides people based on personality traits, dominated weekend movie charts with $56 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, kicking off a new franchise for “Hunger Games” producer Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Walt Disney Co family comedy “Muppets Most Wanted” finished in second place, nabbing $16.5 million from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates provided by Rentrak. Animated “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” produced by Dreamworks Animation Inc, took the No. 3 slot with $11.7 million.

“Divergent” is adapted from a popular series of young adult novels by newcomer author Veronica Roth. Ahead of the weekend, forecasters had predicted the film would debut with between $50 million and $68 million in North American (U.S. and Canadian) ticket sales.

Shailene Woodley stars in “Divergent” as Tris Prior, a teenager who doesn’t fit in to a faction because she has multiple dominant personality traits, making her a threat to the government. She chooses to join the Dauntless faction of warriors who defend the society’s inhabitants. British actor Theo James plays Four, Tris’ mentor and love interest.

The debut of “Divergent” fell short of the box office heights of two other young adult franchises. “Hunger Games” started with a massive $152.5 million in March 2012 while “Twilight” opened with $69.6 million in November 2008.

Lions Gate said Friday it was confident “Divergent” would become an important franchise for the company and it was moving ahead with the second film in the series, called “Insurgent,” which will reach theaters in March 2015.

Noting that the “Divergent” opening was shy of blockbusters “Hunger Games” and “Twilight,” Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co., said “$56 million is a great opening for any film, and virtually locked down the proposed trilogy.”

“This is something to build on for the series, and with the cast expected to be in high demand, the ‘Divergent’ legacy will continue to grow,” Bock added.

Richie Fay, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, said, “We’re very pleased with the outcome for the franchise launch.”

The movie’s A+ CinemaScore grade from the under-18 audience bodes well for the coming weeks as spring break and Easter school holidays approach, Fay said, noting, “The young adult audience has been underserved in the last couple of weeks.”

The company spent $85 million to produce “Divergent,” plus $40 million to $45 million on marketing, according to a person with knowledge of the film’s budget. The studio has recouped about $70 million of the cost through international licensing deals, the person said.

“Muppets Most Wanted,” a sequel to a 2011 “Muppets” movie, stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell alongside Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and other classic Muppet characters. In the new film, Kermit is imprisoned in a Russian gulag in a case of mistaken identity, while an evil impostor travels with his muppet friends on a European tour.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” brought its global sales through three weekends to $172 million. The movie was distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Rounding out the domestic charts, Greek warrior sequel “300: Rise of an Empire” landed in fourth place with $8.7 million, while the independent faith-based new release “God’s Not Dead” pulled in $8.6 million to claim the No. 5 spot.

Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, released “300: Rise of an Empire.”

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Chris Michaud in New York; Editing by Sophie Hares and Jan Paschal)

Recent Headlines

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

Black Friday facts that will make you think twice

Fresh
22-overlay2

Before you wait in line for doorbuster deals, check out these Black Friday facts.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Nov. 28

willienelson

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Black Friday, Entertainment

‘Frozen’ tops Barbie as top girls’ holiday pick

frozen

The results marked the first time in 11 years that Barbie hasn't held the No. 1 spot in the annual toy survey.

in Music

One Direction makes Billboard history

FILE - This Nov. 26, 2013 file photo shows One Direction members, from left, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan on ABC's "Good Morning America"in New York. A representative for One Direction says the band’s lawyers are dealing with a video showing two band members smoking what the singers referred to as an “illegal substance.” British tabloid The Daily Mail posted a five-minute clip Tuesday, May 27, 2014, of Zayn Malik smoking and speaking with Louis Tomlinson, who is filming.

The British boy band became the only group to score four consecutive No. 1 debuts on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart.

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

Jimmy Fallon’s favorite #ThanksgivingFails

13-overlay6

Think you've had a rough Thanksgiving? It could always be worse.

Weather

condition Condition: Patchy light snow
Temperature: 27°
High: 31° - Low: 11°