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Box Office: ‘Allegiant’ Debuts to Franchise-Low $2.4 Million on Thursday

Shailene Woodley’s “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” opened with a solid, albeit franchise-low $2.35 million on Thursday night at 2,800 North American locations.

Lionsgate noted that the $2.35 million figure is the second-highest Thursday preview gross of the year after “Deadpool,” which took in $12.7 milion. But it’s also the lowest preview showing number for Lionsgate’s post-apocalyptic franchise, which saw “Divergent” launch with $4.9 million in 2014, while “Insurgent” took in $4.1 million last year.

The third installment in the futuristic saga is looking to debut to between $34 million and $40 million at 3,740 locations this weekend. That’s well below the $54.6 million that “Divergent” pulled in when the series kicked off and the $52.3 million launch of “Insurgent.”

Allegiant” centers on a dystopian world in Chicago where society is separated into five personality-related factions to ensure safety. Woodley stars as Tris Prior, who rebels against the system with Theo James’ Four character.

“Allegiant” also stars Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Daniel Dae Kim and Naomi Watts. It’s directed by Robert Schwentke, and written by Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage and Stephen Chbosky.

The fourth and final film, “Ascendant,” is due out in the summer of 2017. The films are based on Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy, with Lionsgate opting to split the final book into two movies — similar to its “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” franchises.

The third weekend of the Disney animated smash”Zootopia” may challenge “Allegiant” for first with roughly $30 million at 3,959 locations.

Sony’s opening of faith-based drama “Miracles From Heaven” will battle Paramount’s second weekend of sci-fi thriller “10 Cloverfield Lane” for third place, with about $12 million each, though Sony’s projection is far more conservative in the $8 million to $10 million range.

“Miracles From Heaven,” based on Christy Beam’s memoir of the same name, centers on a 10-year-old girl’s recovery from an incurable disease. Jennifer Garner stars as the mother.

Sony, which is releasing through its Affirm label, has seen respectable returns so far after opting for a mid-week release with $1.9 million on Wednesday at 3,047 locations and $1.66 million on Thursday.

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