The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.
March has become a month when studios try out new potential franchises and tentpoles, something that’s proven quite successful in the past. With that in mind, it was no surprise that Summit Entertainment and parent company Lionsgate chose the month to debut the first installment of Veronica Roth’s bestselling Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoё Kravitz, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer and Kate Winslet.
While some were expecting it to be the next “Twilight Saga” or “Hunger Games,” it opened decently but modestly in comparison with an estimated $56 million in its first weekend in 3,396 theaters, just over $14,000 per location. $5 million of that amount was brought in on the movie’s 348 IMAX screens with 17 of the film’s Top 20 domestic runs being in the IMAX format.
Not so lucky this week was the return of Jim Henson’s popular talking animals Kermit, Miss Piggy et al in the sequel Muppets Most Wanted (Walt Disney Pictures), featuring humans Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell. Despite opening in over 3,000 theaters, it failed to bring in much of an audience, settling for second place with $16.5 million, a far cry from the $41.5 million The Muppets made in its first five days over Thanksgiving 2012.
After moving into the top slot last week, DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman (20th Century Fox) dropped to third place with $11.7 million and $81 million total, definitely picking up steam after a weak opening weekend earlier this month.
It remains ahead of Legendary Pictures’ action sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (Warner Bros.), which also went down one notch to fourth place with $8.7 million (another 55% drop) as it edges its way to $100 million with $93.8 million grossed so far. Overseas, “Rise of an Empire” has grossed $195 million to bring its worldwide total to $289 million.
The weekend’s biggest surprise had to be the independently-distributed God’s Not Dead (Freestyle Releasing), a movie I knew next to nothing about going into the weekend that somehow was able to get into 780 theaters nationwide with an odd cast that includes Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain. After grossing $2.7 million on Friday, the spiritually-inclined dramedy ended up with $8.6 million for the weekend, which was enough to take fifth place.
Speaking of religion, Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, opened one week earlier in Mexico and South Korea before its North American release on Friday, taking the top spot in both countries with $5.7 million and $8.3 million, respectively.
Down 56% from its opening weekend, DreamWorks racing movie Need for Speed, starring Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots and Dominic Cooper, took sixth place with $7.8 million and a measly $30.4 million after ten days. The movie continues to do far better overseas where it took in $29.2 million this weekend to bring its international total to $96.1 million. The movie has grossed $41.7 million in China alone, besting its North American take.
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight) continues to do huge business despite still only being in limited release, expanding into 304 theaters on Friday where it earned $6.7 million for the weekend, nearly twice the amount grossed last week. So far, Anderson’s movie has grossed $13 million since opening earlier this month and one expects that Fox Searchlight will continue to expand it across the nation in hopes of it surpassing 2012′s Moonrise Kingdom as Anderson’s highest-grossing film.
Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop (Universal) airplane thriller took eighth place with $6.3 million and a total gross of $78.6 million, while he also provided a voice in the #9 movie, The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros.), which earned $4.1 million and has taken in $243.3 million total.
The Top 10 brought in an estimated $129.5 million, which is right on par with the same weekend last year when DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods topped the box office with $43.6 million and Olympus Has Fallen took second place with $30.4 million.
As far as limited releases, Lars von Trier’s controversial sex drama Nymphomaniac: Volume I (Magnolia), starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard, took in $150 thousand in 24 theaters or $6,250 per site, while the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune made $36 thousand in 3 theaters in New York and L.A.
Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.