Insurgent tops with $54m at Box Office

The second installment from the Divergent series didn't do as well as the first movie.

FILE: Insurgent movie poster. Picture: Divergent series Facebook page

LOS ANGELES -_ Insurgent_ topped the weekend box office with $54 million, but its opening will likely fall just short of the numbers put up a year ago by the first film in the _Divergent _series.

Thats a disappointment for Lionsgate, the studio behind the adaptations of Veronica Roths best-selling books about a dystopian future.

It hoped that the franchise would be able to build on its initial start, aided by star Shailene Woodleys higher profile following the success of The Fault in Our Stars.

Going into the weekend, Lionsgate had been projecting an opening of between $57 million to $60 million.

Insurgents audience was 60 percent female and 55 percent under 25.

Hispanics made up 17 percent of the opening weekend crowd and African-Americans comprised 11 percent of ticket buyers.

The studio says it's happy with the results, noting that with an A-minus CinemaScore and a lack of upcoming film releases pegged at teenage girls, Insurgent has a clear runway.

Our playability is incredibly strong, said Richie Fay, Lionsgates distribution chief. Were seeing a few more males than we did on the first one and were seeing an overall broadening of the audience.

Insurgent cost $110 million to produce, roughly $25 million more than Divergent racked up in production fees.

Divergent opened to $54.6 million before going on to make $288.7 million globally.

Internationally,_ Insurgent_ grossed an estimated $47 million in 76 markets.

Even if the films domestic results are weaker than Lionsgate might have hoped, foreign markets where Roths books have grown more popular over the last year could make up the difference, leading to a greater worldwide bounty.

The weekends other major wide release, The Gunman, fired blanks, picking up a meagre $5 million and seemingly deep-sixing Sean Penns plans to be an aging action star.

Open Road distributed the film in 2,816 theatres and had expected a debut in the $8 million range_. _

The Gunmans modest results were good enough for a fourth place finish in an otherwise slow weekend.

Obviously we had hoped for a little bit more, said Jason Cassidy, chief marketing officer at Open Road Films. Its a tough market out there and there are a lot of male-oriented action films, so its tough to penetrate.

The Gunmans roughly $40 million production budget was fully funded by StudioCanal. Critics torched the picture.

The Gunman has good company. Over the past two weeks, testosterone-fuelled entertainments like Run All Night and Chappie have collapsed at the box office.

Its an interesting dichotomy, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. Women are driving the box office right now.

Pure Flixs Do You Believe? also debuted last weekend, operating from the same playbook as _Gods Not Dead, _the low-budget, faith-based film that stunned box office analysts with a massive debut last spring. _Do You Believe? _couldnt hit the same figures, earning $4 million across 1,320 theatres.

Wed have liked it to open a little bit stronger, but we think that word-of-mouth is going to start to kick in, said Michael Scott, co-founder of Pure Flix.

Do You Believe? will expand by roughly 100 theatres, Pure Flix said. The company is working with church groups, as it did on Gods Not Dead, in order to drive attendance.

Leading up to the Easter holiday and being about the message of the cross were going to see a little kick in the coming weeks as we head towards Palm Sunday, said Scott.

Last weekends champ Cinderella showed impressive endurance despite the challenge from Insurgent capturing second place on the charts with roughly $34.5 million. That was a 49 percent dip from its premiere and brings the Disney films domestic total to $122 million.

The presence of _Cinderella _may have shaved a little bit off of _Insurgents _results. When the first _Divergent _debuted in theatres in 2014, there were no major films pitched at females in the marketplace, with its competition coming from family titles like Muppets Most Wanted and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

In third place, Run All Night fell 54 percent to $5.1 million. The Warner Bros. action thriller has generated $19.7 million after two weeks in theatres. Kingsman: The Secret Service continued to be the years quietest blockbuster, adding $4.6 million to its pot and nabbing fifth place on the chart. The Fox spy adventure has made $114.6 million since opening in February.

Horror film_ It Follows _capitalised on strong reviews to earn $352,248, bringing its total to $576,275. Radius-TWC shook up the films release pattern. It expanded from just four theatres last weekend to 32 screens and will roll out to over 1,000 next weekend. Because of the strong response, the studio is postponing the pictures VOD release.

Among art house releases, Bleecker Streets Danny Collins bowed to $73,157 in five theatres for a per-screen average of $14,631. The film stars Al Pacino as an aging rock star.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle Lionsgate faced with _Insurgent _was not _Cinderella _or the fickle tastes of teen moviegoers, but its own past history of success with The Hunger Games.

This is a victim of unfair comparisons to Hunger Games, said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. No movie deserves that. Its too big of a hurdle to overcome. Divergent is not The Hunger Games, but that doesnt mean its not successful.