Box Office: YA Sequel 'Insurgent' Tops Friday With $21.3 Million; 'The Gunman' Flops

Andrew Cooper

The Shailene Woodley-starring sequel is on its way to a $50 million domestic debut.

Insurgent, Lionsgate's sequel to YA adaptation Divergent, picked up steam at the box office on Friday night to earn en estimated $21.3 million. While earlier on Friday it had seemed that the sequel's tally for the day would be closer to $18 million, the action-adventure film gained momentum as teens and young adults kicked off their weekends, as some insiders had predicted.

Insurgent is likely to earn just north of $50 million in its North American debut, taking the top spot away 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).

A $50 million tally for the weekend will put Insurgent behind Divergent's $54.6 million debut when it opened in March 2014 on its way to $288.7 million worldwide, but by only about 7.6 percent. Insurgent earned a strong A- CinemaScore and, when it comes to worldwide box office, will benefit from more awareness now that Veronica Roth's book series has become a hit, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Insurgent is also opening in many international markets this weekend including Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and New Zealand. Playing on more than 9,500 screens in 76 markets, Insurgent's worldwide total through Friday was $39.6 million.

The film 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 it in the futuristic society that divides people into five strictly categorized factions. Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts have joined the cast for the Summit sequel, produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Pouya Shahbazian.

Disney's Cinderella, starring Lily James, added an estimated $9.5 million to its total Friday for a new domestic tally of $97.1 million. The film, which debuted to a strong $67.9 million, should earn around $36 million for its second weekend out.

This weekend's other new offering, The Gunman starring Sean Penn, is misfiring at the box office. It earned $1.8 million Friday, and will take in only $5.5 million or slightly less in its debut. Directed by Pierre Morel, the R-rated thriller, which earned 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 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, 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.