By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The animal kingdom showed plenty of box office bite as Disney’s “Zootopia” easily defeated Shailene Woodley’s “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” with a $38 million weekend at 3,959 North American locations.
It was the third straight victory for “Zootopia,” which has taken in a surprisingly strong $201.8 million in 17 days. But that victory came at a cost for Lionsgate’s “Allegiant,” which tallied $29.1 million in a case of franchise fatigue — as its once-robust audience showed far less support for the opening weekend.
“Zootopia” and “Allegiant” had been expected to duel for the top spot this weekend, but “Allegiant” managed barely half of the $54.6 million launch of “Divergent” in 2014 and the $52.3 million debut of “Insurgent” last year. It’s the best second-place opening of 2016 but below recent forecasts for the third chapter of the four-part dystopian franchise.
Liosngate has set the finale “Ascendant” to open in June, 2017.
Audience interest in “Allegiant” may have also been diminished by the looming March 25 launch of Warner Bros.’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Sony’s faith-based “Miracles From Heaven,” starring Jennifer Garner, saw a respectable launch in third with about $15 million at 3,047 locations for the Friday-Sunday period. “Miracles,” released Wednesday through Sony’s Affirm label, has taken in $18.6 million in its first five days as it heads into Easter week.
Paramount’s second weekend of “10 Cloverfield Lane” finished fourth with $12.5 million at 3,427 locations, down 49% from its opening, for a 10-day total of $45.7 million.
Sony Classics’ opening of gymnast comedy “The Bronze,” starring Melissa Rauch, was nearly invisible with $421,434 at 1,167 locations for a tepid $361 per screen.
Warner Bros. generated a solid $185,000 at five theaters from Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special.”