Box-office estimates for “Divergent,” the latest young adult film franchise created by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., have been lowered a second time to $54 million from an initial $68 million.
On March 21, industry researcher BoxOffice.com forecast opening-weekend ticket sales of $66 million in the U.S. and Canada, down from an earlier $68 million estimate, before dropping the number to $54 million yesterday. Shares of Lions Gate fell 8 percent to $27.60 on March 21, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 25.
The film had been projected to match the opening weekend of the first “Twilight” film, which was the first young adult film franchise success for Lions Gate, the studio that also produced “The Hunger Games.” Thursday screenings for “Divergent” posted sales of $4.9 million, according to Lions Gate, while “Twilight” earned $7 million in similar showings.
The company said yesterday its forecast for “Divergent” was for the mid-$50 millions for its three-day debut weekend.
While critics have given the film lackluster reviews, it has rated stronger with audiences. The movie has a CinemaScore of A and A+ for moviegoers under 18. Analysts have said that poor critical reviews were unlikely to keep fans of the book from seeing the picture. It’s still expected to beat all other competition at theaters this weekend.
“Fans of the books seem to be enjoying it, but the negative reviews are certainly hindering it,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
Opening in about 3,800 locations in the U.S. and Canada, “Divergent” features Shailene Woodley as Tris, a young woman in a society where people are classified based on virtues such as bravery and intelligence. Woodley, whose credits include “The Descendants,” learns she’s part of a group seen as dangerous and targeted for annihilation. Theo James is her male co-star Four.
BoxOffice.com forecast sales of $159 million through the full run in U.S. and Canadian cinemas, although other estimates had been as high as $200 million.
Shares of Lions Gate are down 13 percent year to date.