The weekend saw the release of the latest young-adult literature juggernaut to be filmed for its presumably large teen fanbase, and considering how many of those types of films have come out in recent years, it says something that this one did well, Yes, Divergent was number 1 at the box office this weekend with an estimated $56 million gross. Though some prognosticators estimated it would make more, it still puts it in a solid third behind both the openings and grosses of Twilight and The Hunger Games, and well on track to surpass its $85 million budget. (Interesting factoid: Only 50 percent of the audience had read the Divergent book, compared to the mid-70’s for the vampires and Katniss.)
In second place was Muppets Most Wanted, which made $16.5 million, about half of what the original Muppet reboot opened to back in 2011. That could be bad news for the $50 million film, since the original film was fairly frontloaded, but it’s possible it could recoup with overseas grosses or by having legs (the first film opened at Thanksgiving and the new film doesn’t have much competition in the coming weeks).
The big surprise of the weekend was God’s Not Dead, a movie you’ve probably never heard of until this weekend unless you’re a regular churchgoer. Promoted in the same fashion as previous Christian-themed hits Courageous and Fireproof, the film made $8.56 million for a fifth-place finish, around what Fireproof made in its opening weekend. With a can’t miss premise for the Christian crowd (a college student is challenged by his professor to prove the existence of God), the film won’t have much crossover appeal, but should wind up in the $30 million range with the rest of the films of its sort.
Most everything else from the previous weeks had large drops, and two limited-release expansions (Bad Words and The Grand Budapest Hotel) cracked the top 20 and top 10 with their weekends, respectively. Next weekend brings on Darren Aronofsky’s sure-to-be-controversial Noah and Sabotage, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest stab at older action stardom.