Turns out that Sean Penn’s particular set of skills does not include an ability to open a Taken knockoff as the über-serious Oscar winner failed to reinvent himself as Liam Neeson this weekend. The Gunman, his shot at aging-action-hero glory, opened in fourth place with a mere $5 million, which is probably less than what Penn spent on personal trainers for the role. Maybe the film was released too soon after a real Neeson joint (last weekend’s Run All Night, which edged it out for third place with $5.1 million). Or maybe America just prefers when Penn’s humorless rage is directed not at ruthless mercenaries, but at award show hosts with the gall to make jokes at Jude Law’s expense. Either way, don’t hold your breath for The Gunmen.
If The Gunman’s meager intake suggests a waning national interest in older dudes kicking ass and taking names, the predictable success of Insurgent confirms that seeing very young people do the same has not gone out of fashion. Easily winning the weekend, the sequel to last year’s YA hit Divergent didn’t expand upon the opening weekend of its predecessor; the film’s $54 million debut is basically identical to what the original made a year ago. This lends credence to the impression that the franchise is a kind of poor man’s Hunger Games, as that dystopian series experienced a very similar box-office stasis, with Catching Fire matching but barely surpassing the opening of Katniss’ inaugural adventure. But it also bodes well for however many climactic installments they end up getting out of Convergent or Incontinent or whatever.
Cinderella fell to second place in its second weekend, making $34.4 million (or about half of what it opened with), while the surprise hit Kingsman continued to meet the needs of those who wish more James Bond movies found 007 claiming an anal-sex reward. There’s no easy, respectful way to segue from that film to the one that landed just below it on the box-office charts, so let’s just say that faith-based melodrama Do You Believe? made about the same amount of money ($4 million) from a presumably very different demographic. That’s pretty solid for a low-budget movie with no stars, though last year’s God’s Not Dead—made by the same creative team—grossed about twice as much at the onset. Just as Sean Penn is evidently not the new Liam Neeson, Ted McGinley is going to have to keep working at getting his Kevin Sorbo on.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.