Box Office Milestone: 'Divergent' Crosses $100M

Apr 4 2014, 4:18pm CDT | by

Box Office Milestone: 'Divergent' Crosses $100M
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

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.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Indian American scientist develops path to brighter LCD displays
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Researchers led by an Indian-American have developed a polarising filter that can result in mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot in dim light.
 
 
Xi Jinping-Peng Liyuan love story goes viral on internet
Beijing, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) A music video that tells the story of the deep love between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan has gone viral on the internet with more than 22 million views in a week, the People's Daily reported Monday.
 
 
Italian doctor contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) A doctor working for a voluntary organisation in Sierra Leone has become the first Italian to contract Ebola, media reported Monday.
 
 
Complete fossil of small dinosaur found
Seoul, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) South Korean paleontologists have found a complete fossil of a small dinosaur in rare condition, the first such discovery of its kind in the country, according to the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Seoul.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Hamilton admits hardly sleeping the night before
Abu Dhabi, Nov 24 (IANS/CMC) Newly crowned Formula 1 World champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed he hardly slept the night before the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which he eventually won to clinch his second...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Real Madrid to play in Australian tournament
Melbourne, Nov 24 (IANS) Real Madrid, which boasts the most expensive squad in world football, have been announced as one of three teams to compete in the International Champions Cup in Melbourne in July. The...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Cruzeiro win Brazil Serie A title
Belo Horizonte (Brazil), Nov 24 (IANS) Cruzeiro have clinched their second consecutive Brazilian Serie A title with a 2-1 victory over Goias. Everton Ribeiro struck the winner at the Mineirao stadium Sunday after...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Honours shared in Milan derby
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) Inter Milan have played out a 1-1 draw against crosstown rivals AC Milan in a sellout Serie A game. Jeremy Menez gave AC Milan a lead at halftime but Joel Obi equalised for Inter shortly after the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
IOC chief condemns Afghan bombing
Lausanne, Nov 24 (IANS) International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemned the suicide bombing at a volleyball tournament in Afghanistan. The lone bomber detonated explosives Sunday during a local...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Marseille tops French league
Paris, Nov 24 (IANS) Marseille have climbed to the top of the French league after rallying to beat Bordeaux 3-1. With the victory, they now enjoy a one-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain. Bordeaux striker Thomas...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
New crew aboard Russian spaceship reach ISS
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Three new crew members from the US, Russia and Italy arrived Monday at the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Russian spaceship. Terry Virts of NASA, Soyuz Commander Anton...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sears plans for big Black Friday 2014
Sears is looking foward to cashing in big time for the upcoming Black Friday 2014 shopping holiday on Novermber 28th. Members of Sears have seen their Black Friday specials start one week early and the company has...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Apple gears up for Black Friday
Black Friday is fast approaching and one company that plans on seeing a sales increase is Apple. Apple has announced that they will have discounted prices for the upcoming buying holiday and one product they plan on...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Thousands protest in Chile in favour of new constitution
Santiago, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) Several thousand people took to the streets of Santiago and other Chilean cities to demand a Constitutional Assembly as a means to provide the country with a new constitution, as was...
Read more on Politics Balla