Divergent

Lionsgate’s “Divergent” has opened impressively with $4.9 million at late-night shows on Thursday night in the U.S.

“We’re off to a great start with strong numbers from all regions of the country, urban, suburban and rural alike,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “We’re confident that ‘Divergent’ is on its way to becoming another important franchise for us, and we have just greenlit the second film, ‘Insurgent.’”

Tracking for the futuristic adventure, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James (pictured above), has been in the $60 million plus range for its opening weekend.

By comparison, Paramount’s “World War Z” generated $3.6 million from late-night shows on its way to a $66 million opening weekend last June. Universal’s “Despicable Me 2″ generated $4.7 million at late-nights in July to start an $83 million opening weekend.

The projected U.S. start for “Divergent” is similar to Summit’s first “Twilight” film, which opened to $69 million in 2008 but well below the $152 million start for Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games” in 2012.

“Divergent,” directed by Neil Burger, opens at 3,936 locations including 346 Imax screens.

The film is based on the first book in Veronica Roth’s trilogy. Woodley plays a 16-year-old in a tightly-controlled dystopia who does not fit into any of society’s five factions.

“Insurgent” will begin shooting in May in Atlanta with “Red” director Robert Schwentke helming.

Lionsgate has set a March 20, 2015, release date for “Insurgent” and a March 18, 2016, date for “Allegiant,” based on the final book.

Disney is also opening “Muppets Most Wanted” this weekend with tracking indicating an opening in the $25 million range.

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