'Divergent' delivers strong $4.9 million from Thursday showings

'Divergent' delivers strong $4.9 million from Thursday showings
Theo James, right, and Shailene Woodley in "Divergent." (Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment)

The teen sci-fi film "Divergent," starring Shailene Woodley, opened with a strong $4.9 million from Thursday night showings, according to Lionsgate. 

The movie, which the studio hopes will launch its next successful young-adult franchise following "The Hunger Games" series, opens nationwide on Friday. 

The $85-million film takes place in a dystopian Chicago where people are divided by traits according to a test. The young protagonist played by Woodley discovers a plot to eliminate so-called "divergents" who, like her, fit no set category.

The sci-fi adventure is projected to gross $50 million or more in ticket sales through Sunday, according to people who've seen audience tracking surveys. The Thursday numbers are in line with those predictions.

That would be a robust launch for a new series, though not as big as the $70-million opening for Summit's "Twilight" in 2008. Lionsgate has greenlit the follow-up "Insurgent," which is expected to hit theaters next year.

"Muppets Most Wanted" is expected to take off with a solid $25 million in ticket sales this weekend. The new $55-million comedy, in which the Muppets become entangled with an international criminal who resembles Kermit the Frog, stars Tina FeyTy Burrell and Ricky Gervais alongside the Jim Henson characters. 


Twitter: @rfaughnder