Divergent proved to be too much at this weekend’s box office. Divergent, the big screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s top selling young adult book series crushed Muppets Most Wanted, raking in $56 million for its first weekend. The film directed by The Illusionist’s Neil Burger was at one point tracking to possibly match the $69.8 million opening weekend of the first Twilight film. Divergent’s $56 million opening weekend is the second best of the year behind The Lego Movie‘s $69 million back in February.
The futuristic science-fiction film was produced by Lionsgate Entertainment and serves as yet another successful franchise launch for the studio also behind Twilight and The Hunger Games. Lionsgate has already scheduled the sequel to Divergent entitled Insurgent for next March with the third film, Allegiant, is expected to arrive in March of 2016.
Divergent is set in a dystopian city where society has been split into five factions. The moment teenagers reach sixteen years old, they are made to choose to between remaining with the faction they were born into or switching into another. Tris Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, is a teenage girl on the cusp of choosing either to stay with her family even though she knows that she does not belong, and picking to leave to a new faction. Tris soon makes a choice that no one could have expected.
Tris, along with some friendly faction members she meets must survive through an extremely competitive initiation trail where they battle against intense physical and psychological tests. Tris, though, has a secret, that she is divergent, meaning she can fit into any one of the five different factions. If anyone knew of her secret, Tris would be instantly killed. Tris soon begins to unwrap a dangerous agenda that could destroy her entire existence. A secret with the power to rescue all the people she loves, or be the end of her as she knows it. Limitless filmmaker Neil Burger directed Divergent which also features Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet as the antagonist. Lionsgate Entertainment reportedly spent $85 million to produce the big screen adaptation.
The runner-up this weekend, Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted, was just simply crushed by Divergent. The sequel to the hit 2011 film The Muppets only managed to gross a mere $16.5 million for the weekend. The film also features appearances from stars Ricky Gervais, 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Ty Burrell from ABC’s Modern Family as well as a slew of big name cameos including The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis. Muppets Most Wanted picks up right after the 2011 film left off and has the gang getting wrapped up in a European jewel heist led by a Kermit The Frog impostor. Muppets Most Wanted reportedly cost Disney $50 million to produce.
In third place for the weekend was DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman with $11.7 million in its third weekend since opening. The animated film based on the 1960s cartoon segments from The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show cost a reported $145 million to produce and has so far grossed over $180 million worldwide.
While Divergent was able to crush Muppets Most Wanted fairly easily, the young adult adaptation may have a tough hill to climb next weekend as it faces off against Darren Aronofsky’s Noah starring Russell Crowe and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sabotage.
By Benjamin Murray