This weekend, there were two new wide releases at the box office. One was a big hit and the other struggled. Also, one was a hit with critics and one was not. Sadly, the critical miss was a box office hit with Divergent earning more than $50 million while Muppets Most Wanted failed to reach $20 million. Overall, the total box office this weekend was $141 million, which is 24% more than last weekend. It is also more than the same weekend last year, but by less than 2%. Year-to-date, 2014 is 8% ahead of 2013 at $2.16 billion to $2.01 billion.
Divergent opened strong with $54.61 million, which was a little more than expected and triple its nearest competitor. Also, its reviews rose from a low of 22% to 40% positive. This is hardly something to celebrate, but it is acceptable for a popcorn flick. Its legs should be long enough that its domestic total will cover most of is $85 million production budget and unless it flops internationally, it will break even early in its home market run. This is great news for the studio, which is already working on the other two films in the franchise. Hopefully the quality will improve next time around.
Muppets Most Wanted landed in second place with $17.01 million during its opening weekend. This is well below The Muppets' opening just two-and-a-half years ago. Its reviews are weaker than its predecessor's reviews were, but still very good, especially for a kids movie. It will need a lot of luck to match its $55 million production budget domestically, but hopefully it will do better internationally.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman fell to third place with $11.83 million over the weekend for a total of $81.13 million after three weeks of release. It is on pace to reach $100 million domestically, while it should break even sometime on during its home market run.
The biggest surprise of the weekend was God's Not Dead, which earned fourth place with $9.24 million in just 780 theaters. The film is clearly a hit with its target audience, but most critics are not as impressed. "Overly preachy." is a common remark. It will be interesting to see if the film will have legs, or if it will act like a Fanboy film and collapse next weekend. At this point, it is too soon to tell. Regardless, the studio has to be ecstatic with this result so far.
300: Rise of an Empire rounded out the top five with $8.50 million over the weekend for a total of $93.59 million after three weeks of release. By this time next week, it should be at $100 million, but it could be really close.
The Grand Budapest Hotel rose one spot to seventh with $6.79 million in 304 theaters over the weekend for a three-week total of just shy of $13.00 million. It had the best per theater average over the weekend for the third weekend in a row and has a lot of room to expand.
Date posted: 2014-03-25