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Weekend Estimates: Diverse Winners at the Box Office

March 23rd, 2014

Divergent poster

Once more, the Summit division of Lionsgate is showing the rest of the industry how to successfully bring a Young Adult novel to the screen, with Divergent delivering an impressive $56 million on its opening weekend. While that's a long, long way short of the $152.5 million posted by The Hunger Games on its debut, it is in the same ballpark as the $69.6 million enjoyed by Twilight when it came out in 2008, in spite of being from a book with a smaller fanbase. It's also the second-biggest weekend of the year so far after The LEGO Movie, and bodes well for an impressive final tally, and sequels to come.

But that's not the only piece of good news on a weekend where the theme is diversity.

God's Not Dead will likely open in 5th place this weekend, from just 780 theaters. The faith-based film, released by Freestyle Releasing on behalf of Pure Flix Entertainment will gross about $8.5 million for the weekend, for an average of about $11,000 per theater, and could end up in fourth place. Religious films have performed a little inconsistently recently, with Son of God and, in particular, Black Nativity recently falling short of expectations. But the right film can clearly still reach an enormous audience.

The third film posting very impressive numbers this weekend is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which expanded to 304 theaters and is still delivering a spectacular theater average, this weekend pegged at about $22,000. With $6.75 million expected for the weekend, it will move up to 7th place overall, and clearly has room to expand further.

The miss this weekend is Muppets Most Wanted, which won't have a horrible weekend, at $16.5 million from 3,194 theaters, but that's little more than half the debut of the previous film in the franchise, and suggests a final domestic box office total under $50 million. That won't do much for the chances of a third film in the renewed franchise.

In limited release, two films will top the $10,000 per theater average. Jodorowsky's Dune will earn about $36,000 from three theaters, and Rob the Mob will post $11,600 or thereabouts in a single location. Cheap Thrills will just miss the mark with $19,065 projected from two venues.

- Weekend Estimates

Bruce Nash

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Lego Movie, Divergent, Muppets Most Wanted, Son of God, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cheap Thrills, Rob the Mob