Box-office roundup – 3/23/14 – Divergent stands above to jumpstart next big YA franchise

1. Divergent – $56 million [debut week] – While it didn’t break any records like Twilight or The Hunger Games, the Shailene Woodley YA adventure managed arguably a more significant accomplishment — making enough its opening weekend to warrant a sequel, something Ender’s GameBeautiful Creatures or The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones failed to manage. The sequel, “Insurgent,” is slated for a March 20, 2015 release. With a solid “A” CinemaScore, this should retain its crown for another week.

Jay Maidment/Disney Enterprises, Inc. Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Walter at the gulag.
Jay Maidment/Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Walter at the gulag.

2. Muppets Most Wanted – $16.1 million [debut week] This didn’t quite live up to its title. The 2011 relaunch of the franchise, The Muppets, opened to a fantastic $29.3 million, but the sequel failed to match its predecessor. While it should earn back its $50 million budget, coming anywhere close to The Muppets’ $88.6 million tally.

3. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $11.7 million [3rd week; $81 million in total] – The surprising strength of last week’s champ no doubt played a role in the Muppets’ failure to easily dominate the family audience market. Ty Burrell is probably the happiest of everyone involved with either project as he voiced Peabody and had an on-camera role in Muppets.

4. 300: Rise of An Empire – $8.7 million [3rd weekend; $93.8 million in total] As the 300 sequel closes in on $100 million domestically, it also had a strong international showing resulting in a $289.2 million worldwide haul while just barely earning the fourth spot this week.

5. God’s Not Dead – $8.6 million [debut week]- The biggest shocker of the box office was this independent film upending far bigger movies despite only opening in 780 screens. With its strong opening and the growing momentum for more Christian films on the heels of  Son of God, this could prove to be one of the year’s biggest success stories.

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