Zootopia increases box office lead with 38 million as it surpasses 200 million; Divergent: Allegiant flops criticized by moviegoers and critics for splitting up franchise; Netflix acquires The Little Prince after Paramount drops box office debut

The animals rule the box office yet again! I’m Realistic Fish Head. For the 3rd week in a row, Zootopia earned another 30 million more to increase their lead to 38 million as the Disneytoon reached 200 million nationwide. Meanwhile Lionsgate’s attempts to turn their losing record flunks again as their newest addition to the Divergent series Allegiant was met with harsh criticism! As Zootopia continues to rule Gene, does Allegiant have a chance to prove things wrong or have moviegoers and critics said that it’s all over?

 

Gene:

 

Disney’s Zootopia took in an estimated $38.04 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The blockbuster 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios held up especially well, as it was only down 26 percent from last weekend’s already strong hold. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Zootopia registered the eighth largest third weekend gross of all-time and the largest third weekend gross ever for an animated film (the previous third weekend high-mark for an animated film being the $37.93 million take of 2004’s Shrek 2).

Zootopia passed the $200 million mark this weekend and has grossed a terrific $201.81 million in 17 days. The film is currently running 49 percent ahead of the $135.75 million 17-day take of 2014’s Big Hero 6 and is already approaching the $222.53 million final domestic gross of that film. Thanks to its exceptional holding power thus far, Zootopia is now running just 18 percent behind the $245.89 million 17-day take of last year’s Inside Out. Given its strong word of mouth, the approaching Easter holiday and the relative lack of competition for family audiences it will face throughout the rest of March and early April, Zootopia should continue to hold up very well going forward.

The news was far less encouraging for Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant this weekend. The third installment of the young adult franchise starring Shailene Woodley debuted in second place with an estimated $29.05 million. Allegiant opened a bit below its already scaled back expectations. The film had been expected to fall off sharply from the performance of last year’s Insurgent and it did, as Allegiant opened 44 percent below the $52.26 million debut of Insurgent. Allegiant opened much more in line with the $30.32 million start of last year’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Young adult adaptations have clearly seen a decline in their popularity in recent years, with Allegiant serving as the most recent example of that trend.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant started out with $11.92 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.35 million from Thursday evening shows), fell 10 percent on Saturday to take in $10.70 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $6.43 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.44 to 1. Allegiant received a modest B rating on CinemaScore. That isn’t a good sign for the film going forward, especially since Divergent and Insurgent received respective A and A- ratings on CinemaScore. Allegiant currently has a Flixster audience score of just 50 percent, which also represents a new low for the franchise. On top of softer early word of mouth, Allegiant will also have to deal with the highly anticipated launch of Warner’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next weekend.

Sony’s Miracles from Heaven debuted in third place this weekend with an estimated $15.0 million. After a modest midweek start on Wednesday and Thursday, the faith-based film starring Jennifer Garner really picked up the pace once the weekend hit and has grossed $18.56 million in its first five days. That gave Miracles from Heaven an estimated five-day to three-day weekend ratio of just 1.24 to 1. The film’s back-loaded start suggests that strong early word of mouth is already kicking in (Miracles from Heaven received an A+ rating on CinemaScore and has a current Flixster audience score of 84 percent).

Miracles from Heaven did open 37 percent below the $29.56 million five-day start of 2014’s Heaven is for Real, but wasn’t expected to open as strong as that film did. It’s also very possible that Miracles from Heaven will hold up better going forward than Heaven is for Real did, given its strong early word of mouth, its early back-loading and from opening one week earlier in relation to Easter than Heaven is for Real did. Miracles from Heaven was off to a nice start with its production cost in mind, as the film carries a modest reported production budget of $13 million.

Paramount’s 10 Cloverfield Lane was down two spots from last weekend to place in fourth with an estimated $12.5 million. The J.J. Abrams produced thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman was down 49 percent from last weekend. That represented a respectable second weekend hold, especially since 10 Cloverfield Lane lost IMAX screens to Allegiant this weekend. In addition to good word of mouth, 10 Cloverfield Lane likely also got a bit of a boost this weekend from moviegoers who wanted to catch the film before the arrival of Batman v Superman next weekend. 10 Cloverfield Lane has grossed $45.18 million in ten days. That is towards the higher end of expectations and places the film 6 percent ahead of the $42.56 million ten-day take of last year’s The Visit (which fell 54.5 percent in its second weekend to gross $11.57 million).

Deadpool rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $8.0 million. The Ryan Reynolds led blockbuster antihero film from Fox continued to hold up nicely this weekend, as it was down 27 percent. Deadpool continues to pad its total as the highest grossing release of 2016 thus far with a massive 38-day gross of $340.94 million. Deadpool is likely to fall off much harder next weekend with the arrival of Batman v Superman.

London Has Fallen followed in sixth place with an estimated $6.89 million. The action thriller sequel from Focus and Gramercy was down a very solid 36 percent from last weekend. London Has Fallen is estimated to pass the $50 million mark today and has grossed $50.09 million in 17 days. That is in line with expectations, but is 30 percent softer than the $71.24 million 17-day gross of 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen.

 

To recap now that spring has sprung, Zootopia once again rules 1st as hit hits the 200 smacker mark, Divergent: Allegiant flops in 2nd, Miracles From Heaven flies in 3rd, 10 Cloverfield Lane drops in 4th, and Deadpool moves in 5th.

 

Lionsgate recently made a list of 17 movies last month after Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 cost them dearly. The first flick after the first one, Divergent started on a good pace. Divergent: Allegiant had a chance to make things right. But alas, moviegoers and critics didn’t like it. As you haven’t known by now, the Divergent series, based on the novel that had 4 books, was a franchise waiting to be retold again. But now the franchise is on the verge of collapsing. What’s the verdict on Allegiant Angie?

 

Angie Angelfish (via Deadline Hollywood)- With Lionsgate’s threequel The Divergent Series: Allegiant opening at No. 2 with an estimated $29.4M behind Disney’s Zootopia which is holding No. 1 with $38.4M, the big question this weekend is why would a studio split the last novel of a cult book series into two movies when that title polarized its fans?

 

In the wake of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, adapting the last book of a YA series into two big event films has become de rigueur. Financial and creative justifications abound from Twilight: Breaking Dawn to The Hobbit. When the B.O. began sliding on The Hunger Games between Catching Fire and both installments of Mockingjay, Deadline commenters griped that Lionsgate was going for a “cash grab.” Still Mockingjay’s respective huge November openings of $125M and $102.7M and its final stateside totals of $337.1M and $281.7M prove that there’s still an excellent business in diving up a title, especially when a book series boasts a huge, dedicated fanbase.

But The Divergent  Series never had the mass appeal of those earlier titles at the B.O. And in the case of Allegiant, it’s difficult to find any business sense in separating the book into two parts. As one rival distribution honcho screamed today about Liongate’s plan, “They’re bleeding a franchise!” Allegiant reportedly cost just as much as Insurgent at $110M and carries the same estimated theatrical P&A at $45M. However Allegiant, pained by a B CinemaScore next to the previous two titles A and A- grades, will be lucky to top off at $80M at the domestic box office. ComScore PostTrak cites that only 51% of Allegiant‘s ticket buyers would recommend it to their friends (not good). Meanwhile, Allegiant‘s second half, Ascendant, doesn’t open until June 9, 2017.

 

When Lionsgate and the Divergent filmmakers made the decision in April 2014 to break Allegiant into two movies, they already knew that fans were divided over the novel’s ending (for those who haven’t read the books, we have yet to witness a hell of a finale). Following Allegiant’s publication in 2013, fans were tweeting out responses like “I feel like I should wear a badge today saying, ‘I finished #Allegiant. Hug me’” and “Finished #Allegiant the other day- why @VeronicaRoth, why?” as well as “After I read Allegiant I watched Titanic to cheer me up.” Since the novel left such a bitter taste in fans’ mouths, why the heck would one even attempt to milk whatever is left of their enthusiasm for the property over two movies? Nonetheless, the distrib’s impetus for two Allegiant movies was the fact that the Divergent book series sold over 35M copies around the globe.

The Divergent Series was a decent cash cow at the B.O. with Divergent making $288.9M worldwide and Insurgent grossing $297.3M. We always knew that these films didn’t have the uber-four quad appeal of Twilight and The Hunger Games. At 526 pages in its original print, Allegiant wasn’t that much longer than Insurgent (525 pages) or Divergent (487 pages), nor was it as thick as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (759 pages).  Again, creatively speaking – why break Allegiant up? Just cut to the chase and get to that controversial ending.

Splitting up Allegiant arguably equates to a scenario of greater costs against depreciating revenues for a title lucky to break even. Allegiant’s opening is 44% off from Insurgent’s $52.2 debut a year ago, and rest assured, grosses will continue to plummet for Ascendant. In regard to Allegiant‘s overseas B.O. (which counted close to $25M last weekend), Lionsgate isn’t apt to see any of it since they sold off foreign rights to cover stateside production costs. Domestic B.O. between Divergent and Insurgent fell from $150.9M to $130.2M and while that 14% slide might seem like an acceptable drop for a sequel, film finance analysts have told Deadline that the profit between those two titles (inclusive of home entertainment and TV revs) fell 58% from $71.9M to $30.6M. [Insurgent’s total revenue across all streams is estimated at $247.9M while its totals costs across home video, domestic P&A, residuals, participations, interest, etc. is figured at $217.3M).

The multiple connected with a B CinemaScore is 2.9. But who knows if Allegiant will even hit that: The first two Divergents, despite their A and A- CinemaScore, played below the multiples associated with those grades at a respective 2.76 and 2.5. Sixty-five percent of Allegiant’s crowd was comprised of women (no surprise), which isn’t that far from Insurgent’s 63% for the demo. However, the audience did get younger with Allegiant drawing 52% under 25 to Insurgent’s 47% under 25.

Allegiant falling apart isn’t about its release date on the calendar; Lionsgate has carved out a nice annual home for the series in March. Marketing is debatable. Trailers show much of the same as Insurgent, if not Maze Runner: Teens revolting in an apocalyptic world. Critics aren’t helping Allegiant at 10% Rotten. For them it’s the worst of the three next to Divergent’s 40% Rotten and Insurgent’s 29%. Insurgent had more As and A-s among its various age groups. The 25-34 crowd stayed faithful between parts 3 and 2 keeping their grade at A-, but they only repped 16% of all ticket buyers this time around.

Social Media Monitor RelishMix shows a strong reach for Allegiant with a universe of 153.8M, of which there’s 127M YouTube views earning a viral pass-around ratio of 17:1 for its video clips. On the downside, the leading star Shailene Woodley, who counts 1.1M Twitter followers, isn’t tweeting about the movie, instead aggressively campaigning for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Leading hunk Theo James also isn’t activated socially. In fact, co-star Ansel Elgort has the most social cache with 9.5M combined Twitter and Instagram followers, and he’s been a trooper about spreading the word for Allegiant.

Whenever the stars don’t have a social footprint, the studio makes a point to get them out there. In partnership with Facebook and Fandango, Lionsgate streamed The Divergent Series: Allegiant premiere arrivals. The hour-long live stream, using Facebook Live, had 880K views in 24 hours and reached 7.6 Million fans with shared promotion across the Divergent Series, Fandango, and Facebook Celebs and Movie pages.

Lionsgate also utilized three of Snapchat’s most efficient ad products throughout its campaign, including two custom ‘Sponsored Lens’ executions, multiple video ad interstitials across Snapchat ‘Discover’ channels, and a geo-targeted Movie Theater Filter last week. Across these efforts, Allegiant earned over 90MM views total on Snapchat alone. These activations were championed by celebrity endorsers including Kylie Jenner and Ashley Benson, as well as Allegiant cast members Elgort and Daniel Dae Kim.

Buried on the chart, and I had to blink several times when I saw this (I thought it was a mistake) was The Bronze. It appears as though Sony Pictures Classics dumped this Melissa Rauch gymnast dramedy into 1,167 theaters. The distributor is a big believer in platforming releases around the country, and it’s not often that they go wide with a pic during its opening frame. With an industry-projected FSS of $390K, The Bronze isn’t the lowest wide opening of all-time, but it’s sure close. Among films that debuted in over 1,000 theaters, The Bronze is currently the fourth lowest (the goat horns for the bottom belongs to Full Circle’s 2009 title Transylmania with $264K at 1,007 venues). We’ve seen TV spots for The Bronze, but there weren’t enough to register on iSpot.TV’s meter. The Bronze opened last year’s Sundance Film Festival and was originally acquired by Relativity for $3M, with a nice screen commitment and P&A attached. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions got the movie back from Relativity, terminating the beleaguered studio’s rights, and thereby removing Bronze from the company’s assets before it filed for Chapter 11. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ label Stage 6 Films acquired worldwide rights to The Bronze prior to the start of the production and is handling overseas distribution.

Zootopia will cross the $200M mark by Sunday. Disney Animation’s all-time hit Frozen ($400M domestic) didn’t hit that mark until the middle of its fourth week.

There was a second wide release this weekend and that was Sony/Affirm’s Miracles From Heaven. It made an estimated $4M on Friday, +150% over Thursday with its FSS looking at $12.47M in third and a five-day take between $16M. The Patricia Riggen-directed movie carries an estimated thrifty production cost of $13M. RelishMix observes that Miracles From Heaven has a strong SMU of 74.7M. The entire cast is promoting the film aggressively across their social channels, with Eugenio Derbez the champ at 21M followers across FB, Twitter and Instagram, followed by Queen Latifah at 15.5M, producer T.D. Jakes at 8.3M and Jennifer Garner with fewer than 1M Facebook followers. Derbez and Riggen pulled in the Hispanic audience, which comprised a third of all moviegoers. Miracles From Heaven is the third Sony faith-based title to earn an A+ and fifth in the series with A grades. If the pic beats the $11.8M opening of Risen, it will be the second highest opening for a Sony/Affirm title since Heaven Is For Real‘s $22.5M.

Warner Bros. is pulling in a fantastic per theater of $40K with Midnight Special, further propped by sellout Q&A shows with director Jeff Nichols at the Hollywood Arclight and Landmark on Pico Boulevard. The movie is also in play in Austin, TX and New York City and looks to make an estimated $199K this weekend. WB plans to widen Midnight Special starting April 1.

 

Back on Tuesday, Paramount was going to release The Little Prince for its box office debut, but decided not to do it on Wednesday. With the prince without a distributor Dan, who stepped in to claim his place?

 

Dan Barry (via Animation World)-Just days after it was revealed by director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) that Paramount Pictures had pulled out of its distribution agreement for The Little Prince, Netflix has swooped in to save the day.

 

Netflix has picked up Paramount’s domestic rights to the stop-motion/CG-animated hybrid feature, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, and the streaming giant is expected to premiere it later this year.

Based on the 1943 book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince was produced by ON Entertainment’s Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache with a budget of $80 million, making it France’s most expensive animated feature to date. The film premiered out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival last May and has grossed $100 million internationally, excluding the U.K., Australia, Scandinavia and Spain. Last month, it was given France’s Cesar Award for best animated film.

The screenplay for The Little Prince was written by Irena Brignull, who added to the story a little girl who discovers the Prince’s adventures with the stranded pilot/author. The story centers on a fearless and curious child prodigy (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) who lives with her equally academically talented yet overachieving mother (Rachel McAdams). After moving into a new neighborhood, the girl meets her next door neighbor, The Aviator (Jeff Bridges), an old yet eccentric and mischievous man. Soon, she discovers the story of The Little Prince (Riley Osbourne), a story of a pilot who crashes in a desert where he meets the titular boy from a distant planet, a story that brings the girl and The Aviator together on an extraordinary adventure.

The Little Prince uses stop-motion animation for the novel’s story and computer animation for the additional framing narrative. It also stars Marion Cotillard as The Rose, James Franco as The Fox, Benicio del Toro as The Snake, Ricky Gervais as The Conceited Man, Paul Giamatti as The Teacher, Albert Brooks as The Businessman and Bud Cort as The King.

Paramount had slated the movie to open in U.S. theaters on March 18. There’s no word yet on a Netflix premiere date.

 

1,509 fans are currently on the board on the Penguins tally as Spring has officially sprung.

 

 

The countdown to Easter begins as Clearance, Teen Titans Go, and Uncle Grandpa await the bunny’s arrival on Friday. This is Realistic Fish Head saying, get ready for the Easter bunny!

 

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