Box Office: Divergent Tracking for Twilight-esque Launch, Muppets Will Do Fine

Divergent will easily win this weekend's box office. Image credit: Lionsgate/Disney

Buckle your seatbelts, Divergent fans, because this weekend Lions Gate (NYSE: LGF  ) is bringing your favorite dystopian future to life.

In fact, some of you have already seen it, thanks to select Thursday night showings that already brought an impressive $4.9 million. For reference, last summer Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) Universal's Despicable Me 2 brought $4.7 million in the Thursday before its dominant $83.5 million opening.

But don't get too excited just yet. While this is definitely good news for Lions Gate's latest franchise hopeful -- there are two more wildly popular books, titled Insurgent and Allegiant -- remember Despicable Me 2 benefited from strong late-weekend sales as families flocked to see the PG-rated film. Divergent only stepped it up one notch to PG-13, but it appeals primarily to a narrower young-adult target audience.

As a result, Divergent will likely end up closer to the first Twilight's $69.6 million opening in 2008. That's nowhere near Lions Gate's record-setting $152.5 million launch of The Hunger Games in 2012, but even a hair above $70 million would still be enough to break into March's top five biggest weekend debuts. What's more, that would be a great start given Divergent's modest $87 million production budget.

Finally, remember when Lions Gate acquired Summit Entertainment in early 2012, they had the success of Twilight in mind. To be sure, the first Twilight cost just $37 million to produce and ultimately grossed $392.6 million worldwide. By the time Breaking Dawn Part 2 finally exited theaters in early 2013, the five Twilight films had collectively grossed more than $3.34 billion. 

If the Divergent franchise can do even half as well, I'd consider it a huge success for Lions Gate.

Divergent isn't alone this weekend
Speaking of modest budgets, let's not forget Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) is also bringing Muppets Most Wanted to the big screen this weekend. The sequel's primary hurdle, however, will be convincing families to forego repeat viewings of DreamWorks Animation's (NASDAQ: DWA  ) third-weekend holdover and reigning champion, Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

But that shouldn't be much of an issue since early tracking data pegs Muppets Most Wanted in the $25 million range -- still short of the original Muppets' $29 million debut, but not too shabby for a $50 million film. As long as Mr. Peabody & Sherman continues its normal downward trend from last weekend's solid $21.8 million take, it should add another $14 million to $18 million to its total over the next three days. 

Mr. Peabody & Sherman has grossed $154 million worldwide so far, which means it has plenty of work ahead in order to recoup DreamWorks' steep $145 million outlay. As I suggested two weeks ago, however, DreamWorks has already proven it's great at turning seeming box office disasters into successes over the long term, so don't think investors need to worry just yet.

Your pop culture knowledge is power. Use it for Good.
In any case, I'll be sure to touch base and let you know how each movie fared on Monday. In the meantime, we've got plenty more reading material to keep you busy! 

In fact, apart from their entertainment value, there's another reason we spend so much time writing about the business of comics, movies, TV, and video games. Like you, we're fans of all those things, but we're also experienced investors, and we want to help you turn your knowledge of all things geek into cold, hard cash. That's why we put together The Motley Fool's free guide to help new investors get started. Seriously, it's free -- so click here to get your copy today.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2885562, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2014 10:32:17 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement