Over the last six years, there has been an emergence of young adult novels being translated to the big screen with great success. Of course, this started with the box office machine otherwise known as Twilight. Most of these movies have been met with bad reviews; despite this, it doesn’t seem to detract moviegoers, especially in the latest offering Divergent, which takes the science fiction instead of horror route that in turn resulted in a win at the box office this past weekend.
In a futuristic world, the story of Divergent follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) who doesn’t fit into any of the of the distinct factions; as such she is labeled as Divergent. Unclear and curious, Prior discovers there is a lot more brewing underneath the surface of faction leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) thanks to her loyalty to Four (Theo James). With clock ticking, they both must work together to uncover what makes their Divergent selves so dangerous.
Despite movie ticket inflation over the last six years, Divergent wasn’t quite as successful as the first Twilight, which took in $69.5 million opposed to the $56 million science fiction film. This still is a solid number though considering March isn’t nearly as fruitful of a month for moviegoers compared to November, typically a more successful time of the year at the box office.
This doesn’t mean though that the new release will not surpass Twilight’s total $192.7 million haul. Critics have beaten the new movie up with only a 40 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; however, the young adult vampire flick only received 49 percent approval. Simply, the viewers don’t seem to care much about what the reviewers say, especially when there already is a built-in audience. In fact, there is a very high possibility that the Divergent book sales takes on the competition of The Hunger Games and Twilight with a three million mark in books sold so far; this is especially true now with the movie being released despite the bad reviews but winning the box office
The tried and true Muppets on the other hand disappointed at the box office. The latest installment entitled Muppets Most Wanted that finds the gang in a caper of epic proportions when their beloved leader Kermit is thrown in prison instead of the real culprit, the infamous Kermit lookalike Constantine. The film stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell and several others. The resurgence of the Muppets began in 2011 when their latest feature aptly titled The Muppets hit theaters with a $29.2 million haul. By comparison, the latest movie only took in $16.5 million, a drastic 44 percent drop from the first movie.
The third new release this weekend is the independent religious-themed film God’s Not Dead. The film follows Christian Josh Wheaton as a college student who must prove God’s existence to his condescending Philosophy Professor, and if he doesn’t, the instructor will give him a failing grade. By only appearing in 780 theaters this weekend, the religiously provocative film surpassed expectations with an $8.5 million weekend total, which will likely result in a theater expansion over the next couple of weekends.
Rounding out the top five movies at the box office includes last week’s winner, the children’s movie Mr. Peabody & Sherman with a 47 percent drop to $11.7 million and the epic 300: Rise of an Empire, which garnered only $8.6 million with a 56 percent drop.
It was an interesting weekend at the box office to say the least. With Divergent tackling the box office, it’ll be interesting to see if it takes on the overall haul of the first Twilight film, despite its rather lukewarm reception of bad reviews.
By Simon Mounsey