Box Office: Shailene Woodley's 'Insurgent' Trailing Behind 'Divergent'
The sequel could earn between $45 million to low-$50 million in its North American debut.
Lionsgate's YA sequel Insurgent, starring Shailene Woodley, is heading towards a likely $18.5 million to $20 million for Friday, according to early estimates.
The film, which took in $4.1 million Thursday night as it began rolling out at the North American box office, could earn between $45 million to low-$50 million in its domestic debut. That would put Insurgent just behind Divergent, which earned $54.6 million for its opening weekend exactly one year ago, but some box office experts say ticket sales are picking up as teens head into their Friday nights and weekends.
Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth, Insurgent returns Woodley as a young woman who poses a threat to society after failing to fit into one of five strictly categorized factions.
Insurgent will still land at No. 1, taking the spot from holdover Cinderella. Unlike Divergent, Insurgent is being released in 3D, boosting its earning power (that's a good thing, since it cost $110 million to make, or $25 million more than Divergent).
The movie also opens in most of its international markets this weekend. It has earned $12.3 million globally after Thursday night showings around the world brought in $8.2 million.
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. Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts have joined the cast for the Summit sequel, produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Pouya Shahbazian.
Disney's live-action Cinderella 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, who plays 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 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.
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.
At the specialty box office, Radius-TWC's It Follows, the critically acclaimed supernatural horror film that opened to stellar numbers last weekend in New York and Los Angeles, expands into roughly 30 theaters.