Another huge box office is on the way this weekend as tracking for Warner Bros’ 300: Rise Of An Empire (from Legendary Pictures) could be $40M-$45M, with Fox’s Mr. Peabody And Sherman roughly around $30M-$35M. But the story of this week is Divergent, which looks to be a whopper of a box office hit two and a half weeks out. Some distribs in the industry have it tracking between $50M-$60M. It bows March 21. (300 will open at 8 PM tomorrow so we’ll be watching those Thursday night numbers).
Marketing for Divergent, based on the Veronica Roth trilogy and starring Shailene Woody and Theo James, has been smartly done. Audiences got their first look at the trailer for Divergent ahead of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last November, and it continued playing on The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug through the holidays. This weekend it will play before 300. Three weeks ago, it had 58% definite interest from females under 25 and has been racking up consistently as avid moviegoers’ first choice. That interest from females may end up hurting Muppets Most Wanted which bows the same weekend, but only time will tell.
Fandango is reporting that the actioner has already sold half of its tickets in one day (Tuesday) and has outsold the next biggest seller — 300 – by nearly 5-to-1. Divergent’s first days of sales are outpacing the first Twilight (at the same point in the sales cycle), which opened to $69M+. No one thinks it will rise to that height, but who knows as tracking is sometimes off. Interestingly, according to social engagement numbers from RelishMix, Divergent is nowhere close to The Hunger Games activity across social networks with just two weeks till opening. The FB page is pushing hard to engage, and with two weeks yet to go is trailing behind Noah and Mr. Peabody and Sherman in daily YouTube views — although ripped and reposted YouTube views are beginning to grow, according to RelishMix CEO Mark Karzen.
By the way, this weekend’s opener Mr. Peabody And Sherman is outselling Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 which opened to $30.4M. The question is whether family audiences are burned out on so much animated fare, but with the movie tracking so high, it seems likely not. This weekend’s other opener, 300, is currently outselling G.I. Joe: Retaliation at the same point in the ticket cycle, Fandango shows. That film opened to $40.5M on the March 28th weekend last year.