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‘Allegiant’ Debuts at No. 1 But Opening Is Worst Ever for ‘Divergent’ Franchise

”Allegiant“ takes in nearly $12 million Friday and eyes $30 million, but Disney Animation’s ”Zootopia“ is heading for its third-straight weekend win

“Allegiant” won the U.S. box office battle, opening at No. 1 with $11.9  million on Friday, but it looks as if Disney Animation’s “Zootopia” will win its third straight weekend war.

The PG-13-rated family film brought in $9.6 million Friday — just a 22 percent drop from last Friday — from a market-high 3,959 theaters, and it could approach $40 million over the three days. It topped the $500 million mark worldwide and is on course to exceed $200 million domestically by Sunday.

The PG-13-rated “Allegiant,” the third of four teen sci-fi films in Lionsgate’s “The Divergent Series,” is on pace for a $30 million opening weekend, well under the debuts of 2014’s “Divergent” ($54.6 million) and last year’s “Insurgent” ($52.2 million). The original film took in $22.7 million on its first Friday, the sequel $21.1 million.

Sony’s faith-based and PG-rated “Miracles From Heaven,” which opened on Wednesday, took in an estimated $4 million from 3,047 theaters on Friday and earned a rare “A+” CinemaScore. That should help over the Easter holiday next weekend.

“Miracles From Heaven” is headed for nearly $16 million over the five days and battling “10 Cloverfield Lane” for third with a little more than $12 million projected for the three days. Paramount’s J.J.-Abrams-produced low-budget horror film managed $3.7 million after adding 36 locations to up its screen count to 3,427 Friday, and it was headed for around $12 million, as well, in its second weekend.

Fox’s R-rated superhero spoof “Deadpool” wise-cracked its way to $2.2 million on Friday and lifted its domestic total to $335 million. The Ryan Reynolds action film is on pace for $8 million and fifth place in its sixth weekend.

“The Bronze,” an R-rated comedy starring Melissa Rauch, debuted in 1,167 screens and took in an estimated $128,000 for Sony Pictures Classics. That pencils out to a soft $382,000 opening for the tale of a foul-mouthed former Olympian, which opened the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Poor reviews and fatigue with both the young adult genre and the franchise are taking a toll on “Allegiant,” the first of two cinematic parts based on the final book in the “Divergent” trilogy by Veronica Roth. Audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore. That’s better than the critics, who have it at a dismal 10 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film stars Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesJeff DanielsMiles TellerAnsel Elgort, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie QRay StevensonDaniel Dae Kim, Bill Skarsgård, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts. series. The dystopian fantasy adventure is directed by  Robert Schwentke and was produced by Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian, and Douglas Wick for a reported $110 million.

The first two films in “The Divergent Series” have taken in $610 million and the finale “Ascendant” will come out in June next year. Lionsgate is still looking for a replacement for its blockbuster young adult franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games.” The studio was also behind “Twilight,” another YA franchise that targeted mainly young women. Its last release, “The Gods of Egypt,” tanked.

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