nullO.K. now, help me out here. First, which of these films came first – "Insurgent" or "Divergent"?
How can anyone tell the difference? 

I think "Divergent" came out first, but don’t quote me on that. I admit I was literally
so confused that when I was looking for an image for this weekend’s b.o. report I
couldn’t be sure which image came from what film. So when I read that Octavia Spencer
was in "Insurgent" I went with a picture of her, considering that was the
safe bet. (And I’m assuming that she plays that old familiar, nurturing,  mother figure full of homespun wisdom role that
older black women tend to play in movies like this; or am I wrong? Is she a freedom
fighter shooting bad guys and kicking ass? Anyone who’s seen the film tell

However, last
year’s "Divergent" (I think that’s the one that came out last year) was actually
something of a disappointment box office wise. The film opened to a $54 million
weekend opening and wound up making about $150 million domestically and another
$138 million overseas. That sounds like a lot, but actually that’s way under
what Lionsgate/Summit was hoping for the film.

In fact,
according to box office analyst Erik Childress, "Divergent" was only 28th
last year among the biggest grossing films worldwide, behind "The Fault in Our
Stars," "The Maze Runner" and "Lucy."  The
main reason most likely was that the film was based on a series of YA books
that aren’t even remotely as popular as "The Hunger Games" or the "Twilight" series, and the films based on those novels easily grossed twice as much, or more, than "Divergent."

But the
studio was happy enough with the results (or more likely, stuck with it) and
went ahead with plans to make film from the rest of the series hoping that "Insurgent" will do better. Well guess what? "Insurgent" did exactly the same as the previous
one, grossing some $54 million this weekend.

The good
news for Lionsgate is that, at least it didn’t do worse than the first film, which
would have made it hard for them to come up with a reason to continue making
the series.  But unless word of mouth
is unusually good, "Insurgent" will gross about the same as the first one.
However Lionsgate is still stuck with making a third film in the series. What’s
that one one going to be called – "Indulgent"?

Though it
will be interesting to see if they stick with their plan to turn it into a two parter
like what "The Hunger Games," "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" films did, with the film
version of the final novels of their series. Or will Lionsgate just say, "let’s
put an end to this and make just one film before finding something else"?

Also it’ll
be interesting to see how the film holds up when "Furious 7" opens in a
few weeks. Some projections are already saying that, even a $100
million opening for that film will be a letdown.

The other
big release – the action thriller "The Gunman," directed by Pierre Morel, who
directed "Taken," with Sean Penn turning himself into a middle age action hero,
which worked so well for Liam Neeson – fell well short of the mark, grossing only
$5 million. The film basically had one major problem. Sean Penn is not a movie star
and never has been.

Yes he’s a
superb, Oscar winning actor, but he’s never been a guy that draws people
to the movie theater. Most likely his surly, abrasive persona tends to shoot
them away.

Last week’s
No. 1 Cinderella dropped nearly 50%, but held on strong enough to capture the No.
2 position. And the faith-based, independently released film, "Do You Believe?," came
in No. 6 with $4 million.

1) The Divergent Series: Insurgent  LG/S  $54,025,000 
2) Cinderella   BV  $34,492,000  Total: $122,041,000 
3) Run All Night  WB  $5,115,000  Total: $19,722,000 
4) The Gunman  ORF  $5,009,000 
5) Kingsman: The Secret Service  Fox  $4,600,000  Total:  $114,570,000 
6) Do You Believe?  PFR  $4,000,000 
7) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  FoxS  $3,450,000  Total: $24,125,000 
8) Focus   WB  $3,300,000  Total:  $49,403,000 
9) Chappie  Sony  $2,650,000  Total: $28,300,000 
10) The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water  Par.  $2,350,000  Total: $158,794,000 
11) McFarland, USA  BV  $2,182,000  Total: $38,516,000 
12) American Sniper  WB  $1,645,000  Total: $344,006,000