OPENING: Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) was expected at $53M to $55M+ and rose to $56M+ for the weekend, ended at $54.6; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) was tracking at $28M, then opened and was thought to be $18 to $19M, then ended at $17M; God’s Not Dead (FREESTYLE RELEASING) surprised everyone to take the No. 5 spot and a wicked $11K per screen. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands to 304 for a strong $22K per screen; Frozen drops out of Top Ten after 18 weeks in release.

Box office6th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:45 PM: With an opening weekend of $54.6M, Lionsgate’s Divergent opened right in line with what it was tracking at, not $56M+ but still a strong opening for the start of another hopeful franchise for the company. It should get yet another good weekend as Spring Break swings into gear and before Captain America (DIS/MARVEL) debuts. The surprise of the weekend was the strong opening of faith-based film God’s Not Dead which debuted in No. 6 on Friday and ended up stepping up to No. 4 with a higher than expected gross on Sunday of  $9.2M with a very hearty per screen average of $11,852. The question is, of course, its second weekend out and how much it will drop. Son of God from Fox took around a 60% hit on its second weekend out and Paramount Pictures’ Noah opens this weekend so it may sink to the bottom like a rock.

peabodyMuppets Most Wanted was a big disappointment for Disney, ending its opening weekend with $17M and change on a budget of $54M. Frozen is on PPV and hit the street on DVD this weekend so you have to wonder how much that took from its opening weekend. Same studio, too. And, as I said below, if Mr. Peabody, which took in $11.8M wasn’t in the marketplace wouldn’t Muppets have benefited that much more? Hopefully, for the filmmakers it will make some money in home entertainment. Exhibs wanted more family films in the first quarter and they got it, 80FEB5CE-B4B3-FFD6-28D0C3F38E6C445Bmaxresdefaultbut the success of one film is gnawing the box office away for another. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those first quarter surprises for the industry. It opened in very limited release three weeks ago for a record-breaking $202K per screen and it just … won’t … quit. Fox Searchlight is expanding the Wes Anderson-directed pleaser to around 700 to 800 screens this weekend. Shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. Final Top 20 chart below:

OPENING NEXT WEEKEND:  Noah (PAR) starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, Sabotage (OPRD) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sam Worthington, and Cesar Chavez (LGF), starring Michael Pena, receiving a moderate release. In addition, Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands and Bad Words (FOC) goes wide.

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1). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters / 3-day cume: $54.6M / Per screen average: $13,874 / Wk 1

2). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters / 3-day cume: $17M / Per screen: $5,324 / Wk 1

3). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,607 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $11.8M (-46%) / Per screen: $ / Total cume: $81.1M / Wk 3

4). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 780 theaters / 3-day cume: $9.2M / Per screen: $11,852 / Wk 1

5). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,085 theaters (-405) /3-day cume: $8.5M (-56%) / Per screen: $2,757 / Total cume: $93.59M / Wk 3

6). Need For Speed (DIS), 3,115 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $7.9 (-55%) / Per screen: $2,549 / Total cume: $30.5M / Wk 2

7). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 304 theaters (+238) / 3-day cume: $6.7M (+87%) / Per screen: $22,329K / Total cume: $12.99M / Wk 3

8). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,945 theaters (-238) / 3-day cume: $6.4M (-39%) / Per screen: $ / Total cume: $78.7M / Wk 3

9). The Lego Movie (WB), 2,501 theaters (-539) / 3-day cume: $4.1M (-46%) / Per screen: $1,659 / Total cume: $243.3M / Wk 7

10). Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club (LGF), 1,896 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $3.1M+ (-62%) / Per screen: $1,637 / Total cume: $12.9M / Wk 1

11). Son of God (FOX), 2,139 theaters (-851) / 3-day cume: $2.7M (-51%) / Per screen: $1,271 / Total cume: $55.6M / Wk 4

12). Monuments Men (SONY), 938 theaters (-656) / 3-day cume: $951K (-54%) / Per screen: $1,014 / Total cume: $75.6M / Wk 7

13). Frozen (DIS), 1,069 theaters (-397) / 3-day cume: $735K (-66%) / Per screen: $688 / Total cume: $397.7M / Wk 18

14). Ride Along (UNI), 650 theaters (-374) / 3-day cume: $627K (-54%) / Per screen: $965 / Total cume: $133.1M / Wk 10

15). 3 Days to Kill (REL), 752 theaters (-814) / 3-day cume: $587K (-66%) / Per screen: $782 / Total cume: $29.7M / Wk 5

16). Bad Words (FOC). 87 theaters (+81) / 3-day cume: $505K (+346%) / Per screen: $5,805 / Total cume: $660K / Wk 2

17). Veronica Mars (WB), 347 theaters (+56) / 3-day cume: $468K (-76%) / Per screen: $1,349 / Total cume: $2.8M / Wk 2

18). 12 Years a Slave (FSL), 522 theaters (-403) / 3-day cume: $439K (-64%) / Per screen: $842 / Total cume: $56M / Wk 23

19). The Nut Job (OPRD), 335 theaters (-70) / 3-day cume: $336K (-30%) / Per screen: $1,004 / Total cume: $62.6M / Wk 1

20). American Hustle (SONY), 281 theaters (-222) / 3-day cume: $232K (-62%) / Per screen: $827 / Total cume: $149.8M / Wk 21

5TH UPDATE, MONDAY, 7:45 AM: Based on Sunday’s estimates, it appears that Divergent is going to come in lower than expected today — now around $54M+ (with a per screen of almost $16K) while God’s Not Dead will come in higher with about $9M+ (per screen of well over 11K). Final numbers will be in later today. Will post when we receive them.

4TH UPDATE, SUNDAY 7:20 AM: More for Divergent. $19.75M and higher for the Lionsgate film — $56M+. (56.7M when all is said and done?) Nicely positioned for international. They will likely have at least another good weekend before Captain America swoops in to do battle. Divergent opens in earnest April 4 overseas (it’s in 18 territories now) … it’s not Twilight or Hunger Games numbers and the question is, is it strong enough to launch another franchise? “If you look solely at the numbers you would say maybe not good enough, but if you look the sum of all the parts — the playability of the film, the uptick from Friday to Saturday, the fact that we got the percentages from IMAX, the exit polls were strong, A CinemaScores — the number is solid. We certainly are heads and tales above other titles that didn’t quite make it,” said Richie Fay, president of domestic distribution for Lionsgate. divergent-tris-jump“And, Spring Break is coming.” Indeed it is. Summit (under Nancy Kirkpatrick) has been prudent with marketing efforts, Lionsgate has a good distribution team in place and their business guys respect capital. As I mentioned below, the budget is said to be around $85M to $86.1M plus marketing and distribution costs (Lionsgate says $85M but original cost is understood to be $95.7M minus a production tax benefit of $9.6M so the negative is $86.1M). Lionsgate pre-licensed international for a little under $70 million so they have less than $20 million of production capital at risk.

To Fay’s point, roughly $4.8M of Divergent‘s gross came from IMAX screens from 348 runs. The combined IMAX and large format screens accounted for 16.6% or $9.3M, led by Cinemark (which had the bulk of the runs). It shows that the 20-somethings and teens came out in force. Their biggest issue, as aforementioned, will be Captain America. The question truly is, who is going to win that social engagement universe where the 20-somethings live and breathe?

indexThe faith-based God’s Not Dead rose higher than it showed last night. Now at No. 4 displacing 300: Rise of an Empire which is championing in another $8.6M for a worldwide cume of $289.1M in three weeks time. And The Lego Movie with $390.8M. Dang! Danny Fellman is Lord Business; the master of distribution strategy. For more on international numbers — including Paramount Pictures’ Noah overseas business, read Nancy Tartaglione’s International Box Office report. God’s Not Dead received about an 18% increase from Friday to Saturday night. Sunday performed strong for the last faith-based picture that bowed (Son of God) so expect the same for God’s Not Dead. A drop of maybe only 12% would push it to $8.9M and a heavenly per screen of over 11K. The Muppet movie (Muppets Most Wanted) became Unwanted this weekend as Mr. Peabody and Sherman took away a tidy $11.7M. Probably the wrong date to release it, given Mr. Peabody‘s playability. But, once again, family films are so hard to track. The Muppet movie, which was actually quite enjoyable, looks to take in only $16.5M to $17M depending on the Sunday drop.

Grand-Budapest-HotelAnd, The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s per screen now? $21K to $23K. The Wes Anderson film, which increased from 66 to 304 locations is primed for its next expansion as audiences just keep packing in for this quirky star-packed ensemble. The film proved even last weekend that it was making the shift from art house audiences to mainstream theaters, so getting the desired goal of 700 to 800 theaters (as mentioned below) should be easy peasy. For more on Budapest Hotel, check out Brian Brooks’ Specialty Box office story. Final numbers for this and the Top Twenty will come tomorrow:

1). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters / $22.8M Fri. / 19.75M Sat. to $19.9M (-12% to 14%) / $13.9M Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $56M to $56.7M / Wk 1

2). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters / $4.6M Fri. / $7.1M Sat. (+53%) / $5M to $5.3M Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $16.5M to $17M / Wk 1

3). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,607 theaters (0) / $2.7M Fri. / $5.3M (+95%) / $3.97 (-25%) / 3-day cume: $11.7M to $12M / Total cume: $81M+ / Wk 3

4). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 780 theaters / $2.79M Fri. / $3.3M Sat. (+18%) / $2.1M to $2.7M (-15% to 20%) / 3-day cume: $8.6M to $8.9M / Wk 1

5). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,085 theaters (-405) / $2.4M Fri. / $3.6M +53%) / $2.5M (-30) / 3-day cume: $8.6M / Total cume: $93.7M / Wk 3

6). Need For Speed (DIS), 3,115 theaters (0) / $2.2M Fri./ $3.3M Sat. (+52%) / $2.1M Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $7.6M to $7.8M+ / Total cume: $30.2M to $30.4M / Wk 2

7). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 304 theaters (+238) / $1.8M Fri. / $2.9M Sat. (+55%) / $2.2M Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $6.75M to $7M / Per screen: $21,500K to $23,100K / Total cume: $12.9M to $13.1M / Wk 3

8). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,945 theaters (-238) / $1.8M Fri./ $2.9M Sat. (+57%) / $1.7M Sun. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $6.3M / Total cume: $78.6M / Wk 3

9). The Lego Movie (WB), 2,501 theaters (-539) / $975K Fri. / $1.8M Sat. (+92%) / $1.2M Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $4.1M / Total cume: $243.3M / Wk 7

10). Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club (LGF), 1,896 theaters / $939K Fri./ $1.4M Sat. (+52%) / $71M Sun. (-62%) / 3-day cume: $3M+ / Total cume: $12.8M / Wk 1

NOTEWORTHY: Veronica Mars (WB), 347 theaters (+56) / $140K Fri. / $190K to 206K Sat. /$115K Sun. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $389K / Total cume: $2.8M / Wk 2

3rd UPDATE, Saturday, 10:47 PM: It looks like Divergent is on the high-end of estimates as it held much better than expected on Saturday night (-14%) for Lionsgate taking in around $19.7M. It’s 3-day estimate is now looking at around $55.4M. Two weeks before opening, the film based on the first book in the YA Veronica Roth trilogy was tracking between $50M and $60M so it’s its right in line with early predictions. Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted is on the low end of earlier estimates to take in $17M for the 3-day after nabbing $7.3M Saturday (+57%). Third and fourth spots go to Fox/DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise of an Empire, respectively. divergentPeabody is expected to gross $12M tonight after pulling in another $5.5M while 300 is estimated to have grossed $3.6M for a higher 3-day of $8.4M.

And God’s Not Dead now looks like an $8.3M weekend after a roughly 13% bump Saturday night for an estimated gross of $3.1M today and tonight. It’s playing very strongly across the country on its 780 screens and will have a per screen average of over $10K to round out the Top Five. Audiences have proven that they will come to theaters opening weekend for faith-based projects so if they are produced with small budgets, they could prove profitable. The big-budget Noah from Paramount comes next in two weeks followed by the modestly-budgeted Heaven is for Real. The latter is about the four-year-old boy whose story about what he saw during emergency surgery was recounted by his parents in a book that spent 52 weeks on The New York Times’ bestsellers list — their son had a near death experience (yep, I can relate). gods-not-dead-official-full-movie-trailer-2014-01-16-153725-40The Tri-Star picture from director Randall Wallace, bows April 16th and stars Greg Kinnear. Just as God’s Not Dead has this weekend, Son of God also surprised Hollywood four weeks ago when it opened to $25.6M; it’s at No. 11 this weekend. Will update again in the AM and will have more complete numbers and positions then.

2nd UPDATE, Saturday, 7:45 AM: Lionsgate’s Divergent is still on track to make around $54M this weekend for Summit while Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted is much softer than expected and is now looking at below $18M for the 3-day gross. It seems the 20 year-olds are not paying attention to the critics. As mentioned below, it had an A CinemaScore received an A+ for the under 18 demo.  The audience, according to Summit, was 59% female and 41% male equally over and under 25. That’s interesting because in the past young women always helped fuel the audiences for Muppet movies, and it’s too bad because this family film is actually very entertaining for kids and adults. It got an overall B+ CinemaScore with 88% of the audience giving it an A or B as opposed to the last movie where 96% did the same. The question will be what kind of multiple Divergent will have as another franchise property is waiting in the wings in a couple of weeks (Captain America from Disney/Marvel). maxresdefaultAlso, just in at 10:15 AM, it appears that social activity has slowed overnight for Divergent. “Activity across the Social Media Universe has fallen off heavily over the last 24-hours – organic views and Facebook down. Twitter is up slightly but only 4% of all engagement,” according to RelishMix CEO Marc Karzen. Meanwhile, God’s Not Dead has, once again, surprised everyone and rose to make the Top Five overnight. It has a very strong per screen average of about $9,979 expected for the 3-day. It was a U.S.-only release and all the theaters did solid numbers, best in the South, but all theaters were crowing about its good business. The power of the Duck? Can’t hurt that the Dynasty stars appear in the film, right?

grandbudapesthotel-2Also bumping up a notch is Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is  going to log in about $6.1M to $6.3M for the weekend for another successful per screen average of over $20K on 304 screens. It’s continued success, bouyed by strong word-of-mouth, means the Wes Anderson film shouldn’t have any trouble fulfilling its next goal of securing 600 to 800 theaters by March 28th. Here are the new numbers and positions as they look this morning. For more analysis, read below the following chart:

1). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters / $22.8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $54M to $55.9M / Wk 1

2). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters / $4.6M Fri. / 3-day cume: $17M to $17.7M / Wk 1

3). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,607 theaters (0) / $2.7M Fri. / 3-day cume: $10.8M to $11M / Total cume: $80.1M to $80.6M / Wk 3

4). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,085 theaters (-405) / $2.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $7.9M to $8.1M / Total cume: $93M+ / Wk 3

5). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 780 theaters / $2.8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $7.7M to $8M+ / Wk 1

6). Need For Speed (DIS), 3,115 theaters (0) / $2.2M Fri./ 3-day cume: $7.1M to $7.4M / Total cume: $29.8M to $30.1M / Wk 2

7). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 304 theaters (+238) / $1.8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $6.1M to $6.3M / Total cume: $12.4M / Wk 3

8). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,945 theaters (-238) / $1.8M Fri./ 3-day cume: $6.1M / Total cume: $78.4M / Wk 3

9). The Lego Movie (WB), 2,501 theaters (-539) / $970K Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.7M / Total cume: $242.9M / Wk 7

10). Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club (LGF), 1,896 theaters / $939K Fri./ 3-day cume: $3M / Total cume: $12.8M / Wk 1

NOTEWORTHY: Veronica Mars (WB), 347 theaters (+56) / $140K Fri. / 3-day cume: $389K / Total cume: $2.7M / Wk 2

PREVIOUSLY: Friday, 10.55 P.M. After grossing very tidy $4.9M on Thursday late nights, Divergent is expected to take in around $53M to $55M in its opening weekend. The budget is said to be roughly $85M plus marketing and distribution costs (original cost is understood to be $95.7M minus a production tax benefit of $9.6M so the negative is $86.1M and pre-sales and output deals — which they always seem to do — can pave a nice path to profitability. The first in a trilogy based on the books by Veronica Roth was beat up a bit by the critics but received an A CinemaScore. DivergentIt’s very hard to launch a new franchise, but these guys have been able to do it time and time again. So, gotta ask, is it time again? There’s a little event called Spring Break. Oh yeah, the 20-somethings are about to flood the marketplace and this picture’s demos are aimed right at that audience. If you build it, they will come. It’s traditionally very hard for the industry to track family films and Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted which was guesstimated to come in around the high-$20 million mark — and would have if not for Mr. Peabody and Sherman which is also after that family audiences — is looking like $18M to $19M tonight.MUPPETS MOST WANTED Muppets‘ budget is around $54M. Peabody is gonna pull $11.3M away from it, which is like when The Nut Job was in the marketplace and had a similar problem with Frozen (which no one could have guessed would have played as long as it did). It finally, after 18 weeks, skated beautifully out of the Top Ten with a total take of $397.7M expected to date. It will get to $400M very soon.

profileBut let’s talk about God’s Not Dead for a moment. This film’s storyline pits a Christian boy (Shane Harper) against an atheist teacher (Kevin Sorbo) and it is the second faith-based film to bow this year. Duck Dynasty’s Willie and Korie Robertson make an appearance in the movie, which comes out a week before Paramount Pictures’ Noah. On 780 screens and with very arresting key art, it looks to take in the third highest per screen ($9,525) behind Divergent ($13,490) and per screen champ The Grand Budapest Hotel from Fox Searchlight. It opens at No. 6. These faith-based films, when marketed properly, have proven that they can and will open which may be welcome news for Paramount which has the benefit of a big star (and fantastic actor) in Russell Crowe. Noah has already opened overseas. For those results, read Nancy Tartaglione’s International Box Office report. Remember Fox’s Son of God, re-purposed from The Bible series with no recognizeable box office names, opened strong. Yes, it took a hit in its second weekend, but it will have made around $55.6M after this weekend. budapest stillAnd Budapest Hotel is checking in again quite nicely with an estimated per screen of over $19,000 as the picture is benefiting from word of mouth. In their second weekends, Need for Speed is expected to drop around 57% and Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club will shut down 60% while Veronica Mars look to be off almost 80% from last weekend.