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Box Office Milestone: 'Divergent' Crosses $100M
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Box Office Milestone: 'Divergent' Crosses $100M

Apr 4 2014, 4:18pm CDT | by

On its fourteenth day of domestic release, Divergent has officially crossed $100 million at the domestic box office. The Lionsgate release, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, debuted two...

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16 weeks ago

Box Office Milestone: 'Divergent' Crosses $100M

Apr 4 2014, 4:18pm CDT | by

On its fourteenth day of domestic release, Divergent has officially crossed $100 million at the domestic box office. The Lionsgate release, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, debuted two weekends ago with a $54 million debut weekend, and it should hit over/under $115 million by the end of this weekend. Once it passes Lemony Snicket and a Series of Unfortunate Events ($118m domestic, but at a cost of $140m), it will basically be the biggest-grossing “young adult fantasy literature” adaptation outside of the first two Chronicles of Narnia adaptations (although Prince Caspian‘s $142m total is still within reach) and the proverbial Holy Trinity of the genre, the Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, and the Hunger Games  franchise.

This in itself isn’t perhaps all-that-much of an achievement. A well-marketed franchise starter scoring a huge debut weekend based partially on the rabid fan base is almost commonplace enough to be boring at this point. But aside from the obvious “Yay, another female-centric hit franchise!” note of celebration, it is frankly more impressive when you consider how many failed franchises of this nature we’ve seen over the last thirteen years. Since the debut of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we’ve had a bevy of would-be kid-skewing fantasy franchises, good and bad, that didn’t quite catch on or outright bombed.

In the wake of the Boy Who Lived we’ve had Eragon ($75m), The Seeker: The Dark is Rising ($8.7m), The Golden Compass ($70m), The Spiderwick Chronicles ($71m), Inkheart ($17m), Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant ($13m), I Am Number Four ($51m), Beautiful Creatures ($19m), The Host ($26m), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ($31m), Ender’s Game ($61m), and Vampire Academy ($7m). The trail of doomed franchises is as long as the trail of  corpses that Voldemort piled up in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Boy Who Lived was followed by a wave of franchises that died.

I may have missed a couple, and a few of them (Eragon, The Golden Compass) did better overseas. By the way, Divergent hasn’t dropped overseas yet and Lionsgate sold off most of the foreign rights anyway, which is why the above list is strictly domestic. But save for Percy Jackson ($95m) and (so they claim) The Mortal Instruments, not a one got a sequel. In the reemergence in kid-friendly fantasy that followed in the wake of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (which I nonetheless consider a different beast), only The Chronicles of Narnia (which arguably would have hit it big  at first regardless of its predecessors), Twilight, and The Hunger Games qualified as successful franchises. And now, for the moment, you can add Divergent to that surprisingly slim list.

I say “for the moment” because we don’t yet know if the box office strength for Divergent will extend to its sequel. While I was (happily) wrong about The Hunger Games hitting its domestic ceiling the first time out, the sequel benefited from the first film’s strong reviews and media popularity. Will the free publicity that greeted Divergent as the proverbial “next Hunger Games” still be there for Insurgent in 2015, even with the current relative indifference that greeted the initial installment from the critical community?  The choice of director Robert Schwentke to helm the sequel  doesn’t exactly scream excitement (“From the director of R.I.P.D.!”), but I’d wager that the majority of fans haven’t exactly devoured the filmography of Neil Burger either (and if they did, hopefully they skipped Limitless and merely double-billed The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones).

I’d currently wager that quite a bit of the mainstream excitement for Insurgent will depend on the reception (financially and critically) of The Fault In Our Stars this June. Just as Jennifer Lawrence became the Internet’s favorite movie star after following The Hunger Games with an Oscar-winning turn in The Silver Linings Playbook, the media’s current (justified) adoration of Shailene Woodley may well continue if the 20th Century Fox teen cancer romance hits it big this summer. If Lionsgate is reading this, I’d seriously recommend slipping Fox a few $50s in order to help them fund a Best Actress Oscar campaign for Woodley which would conveniently lead right into the release of Insurgent. Success breeds success, or at least positive and pervasive media coverage.

But for now, even if the Divergent franchise has hit its ceiling with wherever it ends up in the end of its box office run (and that’s not a foregone conclusion), it’s still a much higher ceiling than nearly all of its ilk. That it is doing so well despite (all due respect) being more of a knock-off of the previous fantasy hits as opposed to a wholly different beast (Twilight had little to do with Harry Potter and Hunger Games had little to share with Twilight). That arguably is what gives up to the various other dystopian future young-adult fantasies waiting in the wings.  But considering TwilightHunger Games, and Divergent all came from the Lionsgate/Summit distribution wing, it will be interesting to see if anyone else can have much luck with the specific sub-genre. Not that the House That Jigsaw Built is faultless either, as Ender’s Game can attest.

But for now Divergent has succeeded where so many before it have failed. It is a solid hit and a genuine franchise starter. Kudos to all involved and good luck with the sequel. Come what may, you may (or may not) need it.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat w ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken i ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the D ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa M ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 million ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar S ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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