Translating a hit YA book series into a hit YA film series is trickier than you might think. The last few years are littered with failed attempts. Beyond that, it now seems that even if you can score one or two box-office successes from a teen-lit bestseller, that’s no guarantee that people will keep shelling out for future installments.
Just look at Allegiant, the latest apparent casualty of YA fatigue. The third Divergent film may be the best Divergent film, at least according to our own Jesse Hassenger, but that didn’t stop this sub-Hunger Games franchise from hemorrhaging a healthy chunk of its audience. Its penultimate entry debuted with only $29 million, just a little more than half of what its predecessors managed to collect out the gate on the same calendar weekend these past two years. None of this bodes well for Ascendant, the final film in the series, coming next summer. It does bode well, however, for those very tired of studio execs dividing single books into multiple movies. Keep that insurgency up, audiences.
Are moviegoers officially bored of this designer-imposter dystopian saga, as critics have been from the start? Or were they just too busy seeing a reportedly better film about some strange alternate metropolis where the, um, people rebel against the roles they’ve more or less been assigned? Handily besting Allegiant for a third consecutive No. 1 finish in a row, Zootopia added another $38 million to its haul, crossing $200 million in domestic ticket sales in the process. Batman V Superman will surely break Zootopia’s winning streak this week, although this latest Disney animated smash has several more weeks to dominate the family-film market before the Mouse House rolls out its replacement: another film about talking animals.
Landing in third place, Miracles From Heaven outperformed estimates and made a healthy $15 million from a demographic only slightly less fickle in their movie-going habits than the YA crowd. With Risen and The Young Messiah basically already forgotten, this faith-based crowd-pleaser should have no trouble parlaying the Easter holiday into some extra business—though don’t be shocked if its target audience quickly moves on to God’s Not Dead 2 the following week.
With the critic-proof movies out of the way, that leaves the films that depend, at least to some extent, on the merciless math of the Tomatometer. Certified Fresh sci-fi chase picture Midnight Special seemed to benefit the most from positive reviews, managing $190,000 on five screens, for a very solid $38,000 per screen average. Conversely, it was curtains for last year’s Sundance opener The Bronze, which scored one of the worst wide-release openings ever with a paltry $421, 434 on 1,1167 screens. In other words, it was a bad week for both young adults and adults acting young.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.