Move over, “Cinderella.”
“Insurgent,” part two of the "Divergent” franchise, is expected to push Disney’s live action film out of the top spot as the two compete for an overlapping young female audience.
The film, from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment, could premiere to $60 million at the box office, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
That would put it ahead of last weekend’s No. 1 film, “Cinderella,” which opened to $67.9 million, and newcomer “The Gunman."
Based on the popular series by Veronica Roth, the franchise films follow Tris (Shailene Woodley), a young woman fighting for freedom and survival in a dystopian society.
The Robert Schwentke-directed “Insurgent,” which cost $110 million to make, has had mixed reviews so far. It averaged a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes “positive” rating, with critics divided between whether the film is a hit or a miss.
Its predecessor opened with $54.6 million in the U.S. and Canada and went on to make $150.9 million.
Lionsgate has seen massive success with its similar “Hunger Games” franchise, which also follows a female protagonist in a dystopian future.
By comparison, “The Hunger Games” opened to $155 million in 2012. It ultimately pulled in about $408 million in the U.S. and Canada.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the second installment of the franchise, pulled in $161 million in its opening weekend in November 2013. It went on to gross nearly $425 million and took the No. 10 spot on the all-time U.S. box-office list, according to the Internet Movie Database.
“Mockingjay — Part 1" had a $123-million debut in November of 2014.
The Santa Monica-based studio anticipates “Insurgent” will have an opening of between $55 million to $60 million.
Woodley, who starred in popular indie film "The Spectacular Now” and Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” has proved her box office might, especially among young audiences.
In June of 2014, the teen tear-jerker “The Fault in Our Stars,” based on the book by John Green, opened in the U.S. and Canada with $48.2 million. It went on to make $124.9 million domestically.
According to a survey published by ticketing website Fandango, roughly 84% of the site’s ticket buyers are Woodley fans. An estimated 62% said they have read all three of Roth’s "Divergent” books.
Woodley’s co-stars Miles Teller (who played her love interest in “The Spectacular Now”), Ansel Elgort (who played her love interest in “The Fault in Our Stars”) and Theo James, also resonate with teen moviegoers as they are considered rising stars in young Hollywood.
The “Divergent” franchise has roughly 4.7 million likes on its Facebook page and more than 600,000 followers on Twitter.
Lionsgate had a robust marketing campaign leading up to the launch, with TV appearances, a Google hangout, social media fan interaction and a SnapChat exclusive trailer debut.
Meanwhile, Disney’s “Cinderella” will likely come in at second, adding roughly $30 million in its second weekend.
Also in theaters, “The Gunman,” which is being released by Open Road Films, should debut with about $8 million. The action thriller cost about $40 million to make. It follows a former Special Forces soldier (Sean Penn) with PTSD. It co-stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance.
Faith-based drama "Do You Believe?” will also roll out in roughly 1,300 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. The film, which follows a pastor and a street-corner preacher, stars Mira Sorvino, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepard and Ted McGinley.
In the past, Christian moviegoers have flocked to religious dramas such as “God’s Not Dead” and “Noah,” which found success at the domestic box office in 2014.
“Do You Believe?,” backed by Pure Flix Entertainment, could pull in $5 million.
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