‘Divergent’ steamrolls, ‘God’s Not Dead’ surprises at box office


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Chris Pizello/AP Photo

Hello jocks! This is my first day here–so please have mercy; just don’t cut off my ponytail until I’ve had a chance to figure where my homeroom is.

It’s March, known here in Kentucky as that magical month when productivity comes to a halt, and college athletes break families apart; in the film world, March is known as that month when we throw some fillers in until that next superhero movie comes out. I’m “pining” for Captain America: Winter Soldier, and I didn’t even like the first one.

Now we have I Can’t Believe It’s Not Hunger Games 342345235 hitting theaters, this time with a credible cast and a supposedly credible (out of my demographic so meh?) book series–Divergent opening in late March. So how’d it do?

It finished first. Duh.

 

1) Divergent $56 million

Shailene Woodley is on the Lawrencian up and up. She got her start as a teen mom (the best place to begin any promising  career) in the ABC Family series–The Secret Life of the American Teenager, in the whimsical town where everyone says the word “sex” more the awkward nun in a 5th grade abstinence course.

Yet Woodley got some indie street cred after starring in the 2011 Clooney hit, The Descendants and last year’s surprise breakout with another up and comer in Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now.

In 2014, Shailene Woodley can add young adult star, along with “yes, this movie’s about teens with cancer” to her resume as well.

Is a $56 million domestic debut a success for Woodley? (and Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd and Theo James and and and)

Yes. It has already earned more than the films YA films Beautiful CreaturesThe Host, and Vampire Academy combined. Throw in a less starry star in Woodley than Lawrence, at least in terms of timing, along with a less super fan heavy book series, than the Hunger Games and Twilights of the world by which all YA releases are now measured–I’d say this is a success. This was not a front heavy box office film aka people may just wander in to see this film as the weeks progress–something one didn’t find with the Twilight, or Hunger Games series thus far.

Moving on!

 

2) Muppets Most Wanted   $16.5 million

The first Muppet movie earned $29.2 million its first weekend. This is a fairly big decline, though the first film opened on Black Friday so, it’s a rather unfair comparison.  Nevertheless, perhaps puppets just aren’t hip with the whippersnappers these days.

 

3) Mr. Peabody and Sherman $11.7 million

Mr. Peabody and Sherman has earned approximately $81 million for DreamWorks. Not too shabby, but where are moose and squirrel!?

 

4) 300: Rise of an Empire $8.7 million

$93.8 million total have been made from this film created by Ken Burns. Wait, this film wasn’t made by Ken Burns? It’s historically inaccurate, and Eva Green wasn’t a warrior princess against a bedazzled enemy?

I don’t know what to believe in… Perhaps a Christian God?

 

5) God’s Not Dead $8.56 million

This next film was rather convenient given my crisis of faith in my original god–300. Perhaps too convenient….

God’s Not Dead was certainly the stand-alone surprise in a rather blasé box office wrap up–using a grassroots marketing effort, FOX News McLovin’, and some Duck Dynasty guys, this movie opened at just 780 locations, and yet it ranks seventh all-time among faith-based movies according to Box Office Mojo, and first among those that opened in fewer than 1,000 theaters.

The plot centers on a Christian college student, attempting to find proof for his atheist philosophy professor that God is in fact real–in order to pas the course.

Another faith based movie we may be seeing soon…..

Let’s pray on it.

 

In other box office news, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, expanded to wide (by Wes Anderson standards) release this past weekend, playing in 304 locations and earning $6.75 million–an impressive $22,204 per-theater average and almost $13 million nationwide.

I saw it, and if you enjoy the dazzling, understated while somehow simultaneously overstated cinematography and humor of Wes Anderson–then you will enjoy this film. Go check it out.

Tags: Divergent God's Not Dead Jennifer Lawrence Muppets Most Wanted Shailene Woodley Wes Anderson Young Adult Films