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article image'Divergent' set to dominate

By Tim O'Brien     Mar 20, 2014 in Entertainment
UPDATE #2: It looks like "Divergent" will reap around $53-58 million for the weekend as the next trilogy is born. It took in $22.8 million on Friday.
Meanwhile, "The Muppets Most Wanted" is not as strong as projected. "Divergent" will not top the original "Twilight" or "Hunger Games" franchise openers, but it is real solid. The next installment, “Insurgent,” will open March 20, 2015. If all goes as planned, “Allegiant" will open March 18, 2016
UPDATE: "Divergent" has banked $4.9 million already (note, the Thursday numbers roll over into Friday) with the Thursday showings and is set to dominate this weekend. The young adult audience will be served well this weekend.
EARLIER: It will be a "Divergent" weekend at the box office. It is now just a matter of how much it makes. Good timing, too, as this year seems to be ripe for headline makers already.
Even though "Frozen" made the bulk of its money in 2013, it is still grabbing headlines. As it pushes its way to the top ten of all time (not including inflation), the DVD release flew off the shelves, too. Meanwhile, the 2014 box office is already over $2 billion and up more than 8 percent from last year at this time.
Now comes "Divergent" starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet. Based on the book by Veronica Roth, "Divergent" will try to snare the "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" crowd. That will happen and a drawback could be the comparisons. The comparison with plot for "Hunger Games" and the popularity of the first "Twilight." That has been the back story and if it can overcome that and stand on its own, then who knows how far or low it goes.
Fandango has noted that 80 percent of its sales are for "Divergent" heading in to its release Thursday night (March 20). Oh, "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" are from Lionsgate. "Divergent" is, you guessed it, Lionsgate. So, the comparisons, fair or not, will be there. It will be sad if it hits a certain amount and still be called a disappointment. It will demolish "Muppets Most Wanted."
1. "Divergent" - 3,900 theaters
2. "Muppets Most Wanted" - 3,194 theaters
3. "God's Not Dead" - 780 theaters
4. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" - 304 theaters (expands)
5. "Nymphomaniac: Volume I" - 25 theaters
Not districts (as in "Hunger Games") here, but rather factions, "Divergent" seeks to empower those who do not conform. A gloomy Chicago backdrop is used and the tone is dark but the message is clear for those who seek it. Seeking peace is downright violent and must be done with force and mind control. A "Divergent" mind is, therefore, dangerous.
"Divergent" is review proof, at least for the first weekend and the pre-sales have been strong and the audience, primarily females, is the demographic. As the NCAA men's basketball tournament shoots into the first full weekend, that female audience will not be daunted. They will show up and see this film. It will be the book that drives them, not reviews, good or bad. It has been the males and females that have been the target so far this year, so enter the younger females once more.
Speaking of those Muppets, An all-star cast teams up with them in "Muppets Most Wanted." Does the plot actually matter for these? Nope, nor does a long-winded write up. They are the Muppets. Let's move on.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is enjoying a slow roll-out and a fantastic one, too. It has been written about right here as well. But, it is a nice sidebar so far in the movie season.
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