March 21, 2014

THURSDAY NIGHT BOX OFFICE: “Divergent” Solid, Not Overwhelming at $4.9M


DIVERGENT (Summit/Lionsgate), in case you hadn’t heard, is purportedly The Next Big YA Thing.  It’s off to a $4.9M start in Thursday night shows that began at 8PM, and that’s a solid but–for this genre–unimpressive number.  YA movies, especially those aimed at young women audiences, are notoriously frontloaded, and back in November 2008, the original Twilight made $7M from midnight shows only.  That was dwarfed by subsequent Thursday night results for the franchise, which peaked with $30.3M for Breaking Dawn Part I.  The Hunger Games launched with a $19.7M Thursday night, and Catching Fire bettered that with $25.3M.

No one expected Divergent to be in a box office league with Hunger Games, but hopes were high that the franchise would start at a level equal to the $69.6M opening weekend for the first Twilight.  This early indication suggests that the weekend may be more like $50-60M, a very good start–and almost certainly leading to profitability for the movie, which will cost about $200M with worldwide marketing included–but not a giant one.  If it follows the trajectory of the Twilight franchise, it can expect around $25M for the Thursday night/Friday combination, than a huge drop on Saturday (the first Twilight fell 41%, and even the Hunger Games movies have dropped 25%).  It may well be that largely lousy reviews (40% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 49% for the first Twilight and 84% for Hunger Games) are discouraging crossover audiences.

Note:  MUPPETS MOST WANTED (Disney) also had some Thursday night shows, but they were probably not in the same league with Divergent‘s and haven’t been reported.




About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."