The second installment of Lionsgate's latest attempt to find the next Hunger Games franchise, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, opened at the top of the North American box office this weekend with numbers nearly identical to the opening of its predecessor. With the exception of Insurgent and Disney’s Cinderella, there wasn’t another film in release that grossed more than $6 million at the multiplex, which undoubtedly helped push overall business down eight percent from last year at this time. The week’s other two arrivals -the Sean Penn vehicle The Gunman and the religious drama Do You Believe? – both flopped.
One year ago this weekend, Divergent arrived on 3,936 theaters where it earned $54.6 million and did so without the benefit of charging extra for 3D showings. The Divergent Saga: Insurgent arrived this past Friday on 3,875 theaters, which included 3D theaters and managed an estimated $54 million. Lionsgate was anticipating an opening closer to $60 million.
While the critically-panned sequel –it scored a 32% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes- lost a little of the Divergent audience stateside, it gained more fans overseas. The film opened in 76 foreign markets day and date with North America where it earned $47 million, a marked improvement over the opening for the previous feature. The third film is set for a 2016 release.
One possibility for Insurgent’s audience erosion may have been the strong second weekend of Disney’s live-action version of Cinderella as the hit fantasy earned an estimated $34.5 million from 3,848 screens. Off 49%, the Kenneth Branagh feature has earned a royal $122 million after ten days and should be able to rake in close to $200 million by the time its theatrical run hits midnight. The film scored $41 million from overseas this weekend, which helped bring its global total to $253 million.
After opening poorly last weekend, Warner’s Liam Neeson misfire Run All Night sprinted 54% slower in its sophomore session on 3,171 screens to score an estimated $5.1 million. Night’s ten-day total stands at $19.7 million and is looking at $30 million for its final total.
Sean "Tact" Penn attempted a Liam Neeson-like career resurrection this weekend –and failed- with his new feature The Gunman. Directed by Taken’s Pierre Morel, The Gunman arrived on 2,816 screens and fired blanks to the tune of $5 million, which was barely good enough for fourth place. Reviews were terrible for the $40 million production, which co-stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Ray Winstone. Gunman earned a dire 14% on Rotten Tomatoes from the nation’s critics and a less-than-enthusiastic B- from ticket buyers polled on CinemaScore.
Rounding out the top five was Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service with an estimated $4.6 million from 2,223 theaters. After six weeks of release, the long-running espionage hit has earned $114.5 million domestically and $180 million from foreign markets.
Just outside the top five was the third opening of the weekend, Pure Flix’s religious drama Do You Believe? with an less than heavenly $4 million from 1,320 screens. The Jonathan Gunn feature found few believers from either the critics (10% approval on Rotten Tomatoes) or the public. Not even the combined star power of Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Cybill Shepherd or Lee Majors could help pull people into the theaters. If the Six Million Dollar Man and Samwise Gamgee can’t entice viewers, then who can?
The remainder of the top ten is as follows:
7. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox) $3.45 million (-39%); $24.1 million
8. Focus (Warner) $3.3 million (-42%); $49.4 million
9. Chappie (Sony) $2.65 million (-53%); $28.3 million
10. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (Paramount) $2.3 million (-42%); $158.7 million
Next weekend sees the arrival of the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard and the animated feature Home. In the meantime, enjoy a few TV spots for upcoming blockbusters The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7 and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.