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Weekend Box Office Report: March 21-23, 2014

03.23.2014

Divergent leaps to the top!

The latest young-adult adaptation showed no fear at the box office this weekend as DIVERGENT opened with $56 million!

While it's not quite THE HUNGER GAMES or TWILIGHT opening numbers, Lionsgate must be breathing a small sigh of relief after a string of recent failed Hollywood attempts at creating movie franchises out of young-adult adaptations (VAMPIRE ACADEMY, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, THE HOST, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, I AM NUMBER FOUR, ENDER'S GAME). The studio had release dates on the schedule for the DIVERGENT sequels before the first movie hit screens.

The $85 million movie from director Neil Burger (LIMITLESS) was a hit with paying crowds, who gave it a solid 'A' CinemaScore -- although the majority of opening weekend moviegoers were undoubtedly the source material's hardcore audience (we'll see if DIVERGENT pulls similar repeat-viewing business as the TWILIGHT or HUNGER GAMES series). Critics only found mediocrity in the personality-driven futuristic society, with an average of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes for the movie.

Opening in a distant second place was MUPPETS MOST WANTED with $16.5 million. The newest family flick featuring Kermit and company (including the Anti-Kermit) had some heavy competition above and below, and made a little more than half of what THE MUPPETS started with in November 2011 ($29.2 million, going on to $165 million worldwide). Critics and crowds both enjoyed their big-screen reunion with the famous fabric friends ('B+' CinemaScore and 77% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Last weekend's surging winner MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN dropped to third place with $11.7 million, nudging 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE to fourth with $8.6 million as it encroaches upon $100 million domestic and $300 million globally.

A surprise showing in fifth was the new evangelical indie GOD'S NOT DEAD with $8.5 million. The religious melodrama was released onto 780 screens and apparently targeted "Duck Dynasty" audiences for maximum impact (the series' stars cameo in the movie) to end up with a higher per-screen average than the three movies above it on the chart. (Not really sure why God's status is cause for concern in a nation that's something like 75% Christian -- especially after SON OF GOD just walked out of theaters with $55.6 million -- but I suppose that's a whole other discussion. For now, let's just applaud B-movie and cheese-TV regular Kevin Sorbo for having a major release in the Top 10!)

On the bottom half of the chart, the vehicular videogame movie NEED FOR SPEED was burning oil in sixth with $7.7 million, a deceleration of 56% from its opening. Wes Anderson's acclaimed THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL checked into 300 screens this week and went to the seventh floor with $6.7 million and (once again) the highest per-screen average on the list by a wide margin.

Liam Neeson's NON-STOP circled eighth place with $6.3 million as THE LEGO MOVIE builds to nearly $400 million worldwide and TYLER PERRY'S THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB barely hangs onto the bottom. Slipping off the chart were SON OF GOD and VERONICA MARS, while after a nearly inconceivable four-and-a-half months on the list, Disney's FROZEN finally fell out of the Top 10 -- on the same week it was released to home video and became the thirteenth of all-time biggest worldwide moneymakers.

Next weekend keeps the biblical themes going with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky's big-budget ark apocalypse NOAH, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in action with SABOTAGE. Speaking of ass-kicking, THE RAID 2 also hits screens, while Jason Bateman's R-rated comedy BAD WORDS expands nationwide.

What is your favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger performance? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. Divergent $56 M
NEW
2. Muppets Most Wanted $16.5 M
NEW
3. Mr. Peabody and Sherman $11.7 M $81 M
4. 300: Rise of an Empire $8.6 M $93.7 M
5. God's Not Dead $8.5 M
NEW
6. Need for Speed $7.7 M $30.4 M
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel $6.7 M $12.9 M
8. Non-Stop $6.3 M $78.6 M
9. The Lego Movie $4.1 M $243.3 M
10. Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club $3.1 M $12.9 M

ACCESS BOX-OFFICE ARCHIVES HERE

Source: Box Office Mojo

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