Shailene Woodley’s second time around as an action hero in “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” is lagging last year’s “Divergent,” with preliminary estimates signalling an opening weekend in the mid-$40 millions.
That’s well short of the $54.6 million opening for “Divergent,” which launched on the same weekend a year ago. Recent estimates had “Insurgent” opening to nearly $60 million.
According to early estimates, the sci-fi actioner is on track for a Friday opening in the $17 million to $18.5 million range, which would equate to a weekend in the $40 million-$44 million range — though some sources still believe that Lionsgate’s “Insurgent” could finish the frame above $50 million in the U.S. and more than $100 million worldwide.
The Friday figures include $4.1 million in Thursday-night showings in the U.S., down 16% from the Thursday night number for “Divergent.” The dystopian pic is playing at 3,875 locations in the U.S.
Lionsgate has been hoping that Woodley’s higher profile and the continued popularity of Veronica Roth source material would translate to a strong performance for “Insurgent.”
The studio’s promotional campaign has stressed the action and visual effects in “Insurgent,” produced for $110 million — $25 million more expensive than the first film. Unlike “Divergent,” it’s also being released in 3D in addition to an Imax run.
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.
“Divergent” turned in solid numbers a year ago with $151 million in the U.S. and $138 million internationally. Analysts expect the international numbers should post a significant jump for “Insurgent,” given Woodley’s higher profile and the popularity of Roth’s trilogy.
Early estimates indicated the second weekend of Disney’s “Cinderella” should take in about $34 million for the weekend — down about 50% from its $67.9 million debut. The 10-day U.S. total should top $120 million.
Open Road’s “The Gunman,” starring Sean Penn, appeared to be falling short of muted expectations with $2 million on Friday, including an estimated $220,000 in Thursday night screenings. That projects to a $5.6 million opening weekend from 2,816 locations.
Pure Flix’s faith-based “Do You Believe?” was also heading for a mild launch with $1.3 million at 1,295 sites for a $4.2 million opening weekend.