Box-Office Preview: Shailene Woodley's 'Insurgent' Could Hit $60M
Elsewhere, Sean Penn returns to the big screen in 'Gunman,' while Christian film 'Do You Believe?' also opens.
It will be girls versus girls at the box office this weekend, as Lionsgate's YA sequel Insurgent takes on Cinderella.
Insurgent is tracking to open in the $55 million-$60 million range in North America, ahead of the $54.6 million debut of Divergent on the same weekend a year ago (Insurgent has the advantage of being released in 3D). The movie also opens in most of its international markets this weekend.
Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth, the sequel returns Shailene Woodley as a young woman who poses a threat to society after failing to fit into one of five strictly categorized factions.
Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort (who starred opposite Woodley in box-office blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars last summer) and Miles Teller also reprise their roles, although there's a new director, Robert Schwentke, at the helm.
Insurgent cost $110 million to produce, $25 million more than Divergent, which grossed a solid $288.7 million worldwide.
Disney's female-fueled Cinderella, which opened to a dazzling $67.9 million last weekend in North America, is expected to gross north of $30 million in its second outing and could approach $200 million in global ticket sales by then end of the weekend.
Also opening this weekend is The Gunman, an R-rated action-thriller directed by Pierre Morel and starring Sean Penn, whose last leading role was in January 2013 in box-office disappointment Gangster Squad. Penn played a supporting role in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which opened in theaters in December 2013.
Produced by Joel Silver's Silver Pictures, Gunman may only top out at $8 million in its North American debut, marking the latest R-rated, male-fueled title to struggle. Open Road Films is distributing in the U.S.
Gunman, also starring Idris Elba, Javier Bardem and Ray Winstone, tells the story of an international operative who is pursued across Europe by the organization he works for after he tries to retire.
Morel's film could be beat by the latest Christian film to hit theaters, Do You Believe?, which hopes to take advantage of the Easter corridor. The film was directed by Jonathan M. Gunn and stars Ted McGinley, Mira Sorvino, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd and Brian Bosworth.
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.