AceShowbiz - Following the footsteps of its predecessor, "The Divergent Series: Insurgent" has a strong debut at North American box office. The follow-up to 2014's "Divergent" easily tops the chart with an estimated $54 million.
The "Insurgent" opening haul is slightly below "Divergent", which pocketed $$54.6 million in its first weekend. Richie Fay, Lionsgate's distribution chief, remains optimistic, saying, "Our playability is incredibly strong. We're seeing a few more males than we did on the first one, and we're seeing an overall broadening of the audience."
The movie earned a 32|percent| critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes but was scored A-minus by audience on CinemaScore. Internationally, it raked in $47 million and saw big gains over "Divergent" in many countries, including Brazil (up 106|percent|), France (up 71|percent|) and the U.K. (up 54|percent|).
Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Rentrak, says, " 'The Divergent Series' is this consistently high-performing franchise. Insurgent is a testament of the strength of this brand and great marketing. These movies are catnip to this young adult audience."
Another newcomer "The Gunman", meanwhile, has a disappointing debut despite having two-time Academy Award winner %cSean Penn% as its lead actor. The action movie only earned an estimated $5 million, below the expected debut of $8 million, and places fourth on the chart.
"Obviously we had hoped for a little bit more," admits Jason Cassidy, chief marketing officer at Open Road Films. "It's a tough market out there, and there are a lot of male-oriented action films, so it's tough to penetrate."
Phil Contrino, analyst for BoxOffice.com, shares his opinion on the movie's performance, "There's this rush to have this Liam Neeson-style action star career revival. But no one has been pull it off like Neeson himself. Sean Penn is just another to miss the mark."
Last week's champion "Cinderella" falls to No. 2 with an approximately $34.5 million (down 49.2|percent|). "Run All Night" also loses one spot, now placing third with additional $5.1 million (down 53.6|percent|).
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" rounds out the top 5 with an estimated $4.6 million, only down 26|percent| from last week. Another new entry "Do You Believe?" fails to charm moviegoers, placing sixth with an estimated $4 million.