Sequels draw comparisons with the first movie, always, be it in the quality of the film or the box-office performance. On the same basis, we need to judge this weekend’s release Insurgent, the sequel of last year’s hit film Divergent. Both released in the same time of the year, which is in the month of March. Both movies would have been liked by the fans of the novels, and the fans of Shailene Woodley, but the critics never warmed up much to either film. Rottentomatoes has a critics’ score of 41% for Divergent which gets a little worse at 31% for Insurgent. And both movies had roughly the same opening weekend box-office figures in North America. Divergent had kicked off with $54.6 million, and Insurgent is estimated to have an opening of $54.0 million. Things are that similar! The budget had gone up for the sequel though, from $85 million to $110 million, and so the lack of jump in domestic box-office collections could seem a little disappointing. But the studio Lionsgate may not be too worried, for it was always unlikely that the movie would be able to do any better than the first film in the domestic market. It is the expansion in the foreign markets which would be the key here, and the way things have started, Lionsgate may very well get its wish. Insurgent has grabbed $47 million in foreign markets in its first weekend, and should easily be surpassing the $138 million foreign earnings of Divergent. The movie thus has a total worldwide earnings tally of $101 million to start with, and a figure north of $350 million is what the studio would be hoping for. This one is going to be interesting to follow; let’s wait and watch in which direction it flies.
While things have started fairly strong for Insurgent, the same merriment will not be there in the camp of the action film The Gunman. With Sean Penn in the lead and Pierre Morel in the director’s seat, comparisons with Taken were being drawn, which have been short-lived. The Gunman has bombed at the domestic box-office with only $5 million earnings, which is a fraction of its $40 million production budget. The reviews have been quite terrible too, as the 13% Rottentomatoes score would indicate, which almost ensures that the movie will tank sharply in coming weeks. I cannot see Sean Penn in an action role creating any waves abroad too. The Gunman has a doomed end in sight so early on in its theatrical run. This weekend also saw the release of the faith-based movie Do You Believe? which opened in only 1,320 theatres. It has been distributed by Freestyle Releasing, which was behind the successful God’s Not Dead last year. Do You Believe? seems to be a movie emerging from the success of faith-based movies seen last year, but that ain’t just enough to deliver a hit. The movie has received negative reviews, and has opened with only $4 million in North America which might be decent for a low budget movie, but not comparable with the earnings managed by the hits of last year in this genre. I cannot see this movie expanding in more theatres, and so it should fade out soon.
Disney’s Cinderella dropped by 49% in its second weekend; it has grossed $253 million worldwide so far, which is a great place to be in the second weekend, especially when the production budget was only $95 million. There are so many more markets in which the movie is yet to open, and so it is quite likely we would be seeing another movie go past $500 million so early in the year. Liam Neeson’s Run All Night dropped by 53%, but still managed to earn more in its second weekend than the opening weekend earnings of Sean Penn’s The Gunman which is a reflection on how bad the latter’s box-office opening has been. Run All Night is however a flop too, and has only managed $35 million earnings worldwide so far, as against its production budget of $50 million. Time for the old action heroes to give up their guns, eh!?
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:
1. Insurgent ($54 million)
2. Cinderella ($34.5 million; second weekend)
3. Run All Night ($5.1 million; second weekend)
4. The Gunman ($5.0 million)