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Lionsgate’s YA sequel Insurgent debuted to $101 million globally, although it barely matched the $54.6 million launch of Divergent on the same weekend a year ago in North America.
Insurgent grossed $54 million domestically — easily enough to come in No. 1 — and $47 million internationally, where it topped the chart in 66 of 76 markets. The sequel saw big gains over Divergent in many countries, including a 106 percent uptick in Brazil, followed by 71 percent in France and 54 percent in the U.K.
DreamWorks Animation and Fox’s Home also opened this weekend overseas, albeit it in only nine markets. The animated film earned an outstanding $19.2 million, including a hefty $9.3 million in the U.K., where it easily bested Insurgent and scored the top opening for any DWA title outside of the Shrek franchise. Home, which rolls out in North America March 27, also beat Insurgent in Russia.
Elsewhere, Sean Penn is the latest actor to suffer a career low at the box office. The Gunman, another in a string of male-skewing action films that haven’t worked, opened to just $5 million domestically, Penn’s lowest start for a movie opening in more than 2,000 theaters. New Christian film Do You Believe? also disappointed in debuting to $4 million, well behind last year’s God’s Not Dead.
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Insurgent would open in the $55 million to $60 million range domestically, thanks in part to a 3D release, something the first film didn’t offer. Insurgent cost $110 million, compared to $90 million for Divergent.
Though they are very different properties, Cinderella likely made life difficult for Insurgent, since they both appeal to teen girls. Insurgent drew far fewer females than Divergent, or 60 percent versus 69 percent. The good news: Lionsgate intentionally marketed Insurgent as an action film in the hopes of broadening the audience to include more males, particularly overseas. And in the U.S., 55 percent of the audience was under the age of 25, a standout showing.
“All the signs are positive, especially worldwide,” said Lionsgate distribution chief Richie Fay. “There’s a lot to be said for the 17 percent uptick from Friday to Saturday, compared to 10 percent or 11 percent for Divergent. Our playability will be great over the next few weeks with spring break.”
Insurgent, earning an A- CinemaScore, sees the return of stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James, but with a new director, Robert Schwentke, at the helm. The story continues to center on Woodley’s character, a young woman named Tris who does not fit in with the futuristic society that divides people into five strictly categorized factions. Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts have joined the cast for the sequel, produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Pouya Shahbazian.
Overseas, France led with $5.8 million, followed by the U.K. ($4.5 million), Brazil ($4.2 million), Mexico ($3.7 million) and Australia ($3.2 million). In the last year, Woodley and co-star Ansel Elgort have seen their star status rise, thanks to Divergent as well as the stunning success of The Fault in Our Stars. Also, Veronica Roth‘s YA book series has become more popular internationally.
Cinderella placed No. 2 domestically with $34.5 million, a 49 percent drop from opening weekend. Overseas, the live-action Disney fairy tale grossed another $41.1 million for a worldwide total of $253.1 million.
Directed by Pierre Morel, The Gunman eked out a fourth-place finish in North America behind Run All Night.
Gunman, nabbing only a B- CinemaScore, centers on an international operative who is pursued across Europe by the organization he works for after he tries to retire. Produced by Joel Silver‘s Silver Pictures, Gunman is being distributed by Open Road Films in the U.S.
Holdover Kingsman: The Secret Service rounded out the top five, while Do You Believe? placed No. 6.
Believe, about a pastor who encounters a street-corner preacher, was written by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, who also penned God’s Not Dead, which opened on the same weekend a year ago to $9.1 million for Pure Flix Entertainment, the company also behind Believe.
The film was directed by Jonathan M. Gunn and stars Ted McGinley, Mira Sorvino, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd and Brian Bosworth.
At the specialty box, Andrew Karpen‘s Bleecker Street enjoyed solid results with its inaugural release, Danny Collins. The dramedy, starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer, grossed $73,157 from five theaters for a location average of $14,631, the best of the weekend.
In the film, directed and written by Dan Fogelman, Pacino plays an aging rocker who decides to change his bad-boy ways after he discovers a letter written to him 40 years earlier by John Lennon.
Radius-TWC’s It Follows, the critically acclaimed supernatural horror film that opened to stellar numbers last weekend in New York and Los Angeles, expanded into a total of 32 theaters, earning a pleasing $352,000 for a location average of $11,000.
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Lisa Marie Presley