'Divergent' opens big at box office with $56 million, 'Muppets Most Wanted' flops and 'God's Not Dead' shocks

By Daniel S Levine,

While Hollywood saw the young adult novel curse finally end this weekend, Kermit and friends failed to draw audiences for another Muppet adventure. Divergent easily dominated the box office this weekend, becoming the first original hit YA adaptation since The Hunger Games.

Overall, it’s great news for Lionsgate and Summit. Divergent, which stars Shailene Woodley in another dystopian story, opened to $56 million this weekend, notes Box Office Mojo. It won an A CinemaScore grade from audiences, so it should stick around long enough to cross $100 million. The studio has already greenlit Insurgent, the second novel from Veronica Roth’s trilogy.

“This opened exactly where we needed it to be to launch a new franchise,” Summit/Lionsgate distribution chief Richie Fay told The Hollywood Reporter.

There were several positive numbers for the studio if you break down the numbers into demographics. The best may just be that only 40 percent of the total gross came on Friday, which means that the audience wasn’t made up overwhelmingly of super-fans of the books who rushed to see it. Also, 50 percent of the audience was over 25, so it’s not just younger audiences checking it out.

While everyone at Lionsgate is smiling, Disney isn’t. Muppets Most Wanted failed to have the strong opening 2011’s The Muppets had, only making $16.5 million. The Muppets opened over Thanksgiving weekend and grossed $29 million. At least Most Wanted only cost $54 million to make.

One of the big shockers of the weekend was God’s Not Dead, a faith-based film Freestyle Releasing put out in 780 locations. According to Variety, the film made a whopping $8.6 million.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman added $11.7 million this weekend, while 300: Rise of an Empire added $8.7 million.

image courtesy of Summit/EPK

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