Lionsgate’s “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” has opened impressively with $4.1 million in Thursday-night showings in the U.S.
“Insurgent” expands to 3,875 locations Friday and is opening on the same weekend as “Divergent,” the first in the series, did a year ago.”Divergent” took in $4.9 million in its Thursday night launch on March 20, 2014.
Lionsgate is hoping that star Shailene Woodley’s higher profile as well as the continued popularity of the books written by Veronica Roth, which serve as the source material, will bolster revenues for “Insurgent.”
Pre-release tracking suggests that the film should top the $54.6 million debut of its predecessor, which totaled $150.9 million in the U.S. Analysts have been forecasting a debut in the $57 million to $60 million range.
Lionsgate’s promotional campaign has stressed the action and visual effects in the sci-fi thriller.
International box office has already hit $8.2 million in markets that opened Wednesday and Thursday. Lionsgate said “Insurgent” is in first place in 49 of the 52 markets around the world where it has opened so far.
Brazil opening-day box office was up 135% over “Divergent,” and France gained 127% to $1.1 million. The Netherlands was up 78% and Belgium 54%. Italy gained 23% while Malaysia soared 116%.
Produced for $110 million, “Insurgent” is $25 million more expensive than the first film. It’s also being released in 3D, a format the previous chapter opted not to embrace, in addition to an Imax run.
“Divergent” grossed $138 million in international markets, but analysts expect that number will improve given that Woodley is better known and that Roth’s books have grown more popular abroad over the past year. The film will roll out in 74 international markets this week at about 9,000 locations.
Woodley stars as Tris, who’s on the run after being exposed as “divergent” and failing to fit into one of five factions in a post-apocalyptic world. Theo James, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet reprise their “Divergent” roles while Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer join the franchise — which will see two more films opening in the same slot in March of next year and in 2017.
The biggest competiton for “Insurgent” in the U.S. will come from the second weekend of “Cinderella,” which should fall about 50% from its $67.9 million debut to end the weekend with roughly $32 million.
UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. PDT — Open Road’s “The Gunman,” starring Sean Penn, grossed an estimated $220,000 in Thursday night screenings. It’s expanding to 2,816 locations and is expected to wind up the weekend around $8 million.