Divergent, the big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s hit YA sci-fi book series, had no trouble setting itself apart at theaters on Friday, grossing an estimated $22.8 million. That’s the largest single-day haul at the box office since The LEGO Movie, which made $30.8 million on its first Saturday in February. Divergent also collected $4.9 million at midnight shows on Thursday, bringing its total to $27.7 million before the weekend officially even begins. For comparison, The Hunger Games, the first chapter of the current gold-standard YA franchise, earned $67.3 million on its first Friday in March, 2012 on its way to a $152.5 million weekend. Divergent, which reportedly cost $85 million to produce, could reach as high as $60 million by the end of the weekend for a decisive win.
In second place, Muppets Most Wanted grossed $4.7 million on Friday. The caper comedy, starring Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais alongside Jim Henson’s legendary puppets, marks the Muppets’ eighth big-screen adventure and their first since 2011′s reboot The Muppets. That version, scripted by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, earned $12.1 million on its first Friday and eventual achieved an $88.6 million cumulative gross. Muppets Most Wanted should perform well with families this weekend, and could take in more than $20 million by Sunday night.
In a surprise showing, the inspirational drama God’s Not Dead, distributed by Freestyle Releasing, came in third place with $2.8 million on Friday. The low-budget independent film, which tells the story of a college student who challenges a professor’s belief that God doesn’t exist, played in just 780 theaters, and could earn as much as $8 million in its first weekend.
In fourth place, the animated adventure Mr. Peabody and Sherman earned $2.7 million for a $72 million total gross after 15 days. And in fifth place, 300: Rise of an Empire conquered another $2.4 million on Friday, bringing its total $87 million. Expanding to 304 theaters, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to ride a wave of critical acclaim to an estimated $1.8 million Friday take.
1. Divergent – $22.8 million
2. Muppets Most Wanted – $4.7 million
3. God’s Not Dead – $2.8 million
4. Mr. Peabody and Sherman – $2.7 million
5. 300: Rise of an Empire – $2.4 million