Crowd Report Analysis: Divergent
Divergent poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 21, 2014
I was hesitant about going under $50 million for the weekend even with slow advance sales but now that possibility is sounding awfully possible.
Divergent only has one sellout in Los Angeles on opening night which isnít boding well for a stellar debut. None of the top-tier locations are selling out and only one small IMAX screening is filled. I was hesitant about going under $50 million for the weekend even with slow advance sales but now that possibility is sounding awfully possible. I can list quite a few movies that were much more crowded than this and not even all these movies grossed a huge amount at the box office. The upscale theaters in Hollywood and Century City would usually be packing it in and selling it out for something like this and the attendance at both of these multiplexes seems rather troubling. This is nothing like the first Twilight entry and Iím even questioning its chances of even reaching $20 million less than its $36 million first day take. As I mentioned in the outlook, Gravity was doing really, really well in Los Angeles on opening day and the sales for Divergent are paling in comparison to those figures. Gravity had the surplus of being in 3D for various showtimes inflating sales but this isnít even coming close to the figure of taking away the 3D prices. There are chick flicks and comedies that have sold out the Century City theater a few hours in advance and Divergent isnít even playing on those levels.

Movies like Failure to Launch, The Break-Up, Superbad, Knocked Up, The Hangover and part 3 were attracting big at this location partly because of UCLA, and even Vantage Point had sold out a good chunk of the day. Even Zodiac played on the level of Vantage Point here despite not playing that way at most domestic movie theaters. Century City gets a good amount of traffic from UCLA students who donít want to go to their hometown Westwood anymore because their huge theater doesnít provide reserved seating like Century City does. Instead of waiting in a long line down the street in Westwood, students now drive a mile away to this venue. Since late 2006, Century City has stolen a lot of the business thunder that Westwood used to receive and if UCLA students arenít even biting big for this movie, thatís pretty troubling. There are people showing up but itís only on 3 screens and offering 800 seats per-3-shows and not even selling out one show in advance besides an IMAX. Hollywood hipsters arenít even packing it in at the Arclight and that would normally be one of the top grossing venues in the country. Iím not sure whether itís the lack of star-power or general lack of interest over Divergentís concept, but I canít see it making it to $50 million with this level of business and even hitting $40 million isnít a lock. Luckily the movieís budget is under $100 million and so even if this under-performs, it should still gross. I have no prediction for opening day right now given this information but I am completely prepared now to watch my $65 million prediction bite the dust and be completely wrong in having gone that high.

(However, as I just finished writing this up, I just checked out Nikki Finke online gossip, who is a former Deadline.com journalist who covers box office, and she has reported a very early estimate of $22 - 23 million for Friday which includes Thursday night sneaks and if that is accurate it means the movie is playing much better in areas outside of Los Angeles and she is predicting a weekend take of $48 - 52 million from 3,936 theaters. If that ends up being the case, this will be one of the only movies in which Los Angeles was a poor example of overall sales in America. The attendance here was blowing my mind in terms of vast inactivity which means most of the movie's traffic is all elsewhere across the country.)
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'Divergent' Articles
  • Craig's Divergent review D+
    March 23, 2014    For a movie trying to be the start of a series, Divergent doesnít manage to kick-start much of anything. -- Craig Younkin
  • Box Office Outlook: Divergent
    March 20, 2014    Iím anticipating an opening day of $22 Ė 28 million for Divergent in 3,936 theaters, which would be a per-screen average between $5,500 and $7,000. -- Lee Tistaert