'Box Office: 'Insurgent' tops With $54 million, 'Gunman' flops

Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:59am EDT
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES, March 22 (Variety.com) - "Insurgent" topped the weekend box office with $54 million, but its opening will likely fall just short of the numbers put up a year ago by the first film in the "Divergent" series.

That's a disappointment for Lionsgate, the studio behind the adaptations of Veronica Roth's best-selling books about a dystopian future. It hoped that the franchise would be able to build on its initial start, aided by star Shailene Woodley's higher profile following the success of "The Fault in Our Stars." Going into the weekend, Lionsgate had been projecting an opening of between $57 million to $60 million.

"Insurgent's" audience was 60 percent female and 55 percent under 25. Hispanics made up 17 percent of the opening weekend crowd and African-American comprised 11 percent of ticket buyers.

The studio says its happy with the results, noting that with an A-minus CinemaScore and a lack of upcoming film releases pegged at teenage girls, "Insurgent" has a clear runway.

"Our playability is incredibly strong," said Richie Fay, Lionsgate's distribution chief. "We're seeing a few more males than we did on the first one and we're seeing an overall broadening of the audience."

"Insurgent" cost $110 million to produced, roughly $25 million more than "Divergent" racked up in production fees. "Divergent" opened to $54.6 million before going on to make $288.7 million globally.

Internationally, "Insurgent" grossed an estimated $47 million in 76 markets. Even if the film's domestic results are weaker than Lionsgate might have hoped, foreign markets where Roth's books have grown more popular over the last year, could make up the difference leading to a greater worldwide bounty.

The weekend's other major wide release, "The Gunman" fired blanks, picking up a meager $5 million and seemingly deep-sixing Sean Penn's plans to be an aging action star. Open Road distributed the film in 2,816 theaters and had expected a debut in the $8 million range. "The Gunman's" modest results were good enough for a fourth place finish in an otherwise slow weekend.   Continued...