One cannot say that the signs were not visible. The Divergent Series never garnered the fan-love of the kind that made The Hunger Games such a big success but the studio has persisted to go ahead with the series. When the second movie Insurgent itself opened a few million dollars lower than Divergent, the franchise seemed to have been put on the backfoot. With the latest release, Allegiant, it is truly gasping for air. The opening weekend collections of Allegiant in North America is estimated to be only $29 million, a far cry from the $50 million+ openings of the first two movies. To make things worse, the production budget is said to be the highest of the series at $120 million. A 10% score on Rottentomatoes will not help things from hereon. Foreign collections have been better and the worldwide earnings stands at $82.5 million. But the way things are going, I expect Allegiant to struggle to cross the $297 million worldwide earnings of its predecessor, Insurgent. To put things in perspective, the previous two movies of the series were no blockbusters, and will barely qualify as even break-even figures. Studio Lionsgate has still continued with the series maybe with the hope that Shailene Woodley’s growing presence in Hollywood will give the upcoming movies a boost. None of that has happened, and turning the final novel of the trilogy into a 2-movie series seems quite absurd for a franchise that isn’t making money. The final movie Ascendant is scheduled for a July 2017 release, which will be seen by the few faithful that have stuck with the franchise when many haven’t.
The other wide release was the Jennifer Garner starrer faith-based movie Miracles From Heaven. The movie opened with $15 million in North America which is a good beginning for a low budget movie ($13 million production budget). It is a bigger opening than the recent faith-based movies Risen ($11.8 million) and The Young Messiah ($3.3 million). Miracles From Heaven should be closing around $50 million mark which would be a healthy return on investment for the studio. The same cannot be said for the R-rated comedy The Bronze that opened in more than 1,000 theatres but did not even earn a half a million dollars. This is one of the worst openings you will ever get to see; in fact, it is the ninth worst per theatre average collections. The production budget of $3.5 million has gone down the drain.
The weekend’s top spot belonged to Zootopia for the third week running. This Disney flick has garnered $594 million worldwide so far, eclipsing Tangled, and now has Big Hero 6 ($657.8 million) in its sights. Last week’s 10 Cloverfield Lane dropped by less than 50% and has now earned $52.5 million worldwide; you can start calling this one a hit. Oh, and moving to our favourite superhero of the year, Deadpool has collected a whooping $731 million worldwide till date, which means it is only $17 million short of eclipsing X-Men: Days of Future Past to become the biggest X-Men movie. Trust Deadpool to not be shy to earn that honour, eh?!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Zootopia ($38.0 million; third weekend)
2. The Divergent Series: Allegiant ($29.1 million)
3. Miracles From Heaven ($15.0 million)
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane (12.5 million; second weekend)
5. Deadpool ($8.0 million; sixth weekend)