‘Allegiant’ Trampled by ‘Zootopia’ at Box Office

Third film in “The Divergent Series” debuts with $29 million as Disney Animation smash wins 3rd weekend with $38 million. “Miracles From Heaven” builds momentum ahead of Easter

"Zootopia" / Walt Disney Animation Studios

“Zootopia” topped the U.S. box office charts for the third consecutive weekend, holding off wide openers Allegiant: The Divergent Series” and the faith-based “Miracles From Heaven” with an estimated $38 million.

The Disney Animation blockbuster raised its domestic box office total to $201 million in the process and lifted the worldwide total for the 3D computer-animated tale of prejudice and stereotyping to $692 million.

The PG-13-rated “Allegiant,” the third of four films in Lionsgate’s teen sci-fi series “The Divergent Series,” came in second with roughly $29 million — well under the debuts of 2014’s “Divergent” ($54 million) and last year’s “Insurgent” ($52 million).

Sony’s “Miracles From Heaven” has built momentum since opening Wednesday and took third for the weekend with roughly $15 million, and lifted its five-day total to $18.5 million. An “A+” CinemaScore should provide the good word through next weekend’s Easter holiday for the religious drama starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah and directed by “The 33’s” Patricia Riggen.

“We opened it a little early, a week before Easter, and it looks like that is going to pay off for us,” Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer told TheWrap. Itg’s already in a healthy 3,047 theaters, so it won’t expand much for the holiday.

A marketing campaign targeting church groups and an outreach to the Hispanic community highlighting co-star Eugenio Derbez helped “Miracles From Heaven” connect with mainstream crowds and exceed projections. With Garner, Queen Latifah and Derbez, the inspirational tale has more star power than most religious films and, coming on the heels of “Heaven Is for Real” and “War Room,” cements Sony’s standing as the leading distributor of faith-based movies.

The low-budget horror film “10 Cloverfield Lane” was fourth with $12.5 million and lifted its domestic total to $45 million in its second week for Paramount. Fox’s relentless and R-rated “Deadpool” was fifth with $8 million in its sixth week. The Ryan Reynolds superhero sendup is easily the year’s highest-grossing film with $341 million domestically.

Poor reviews and fatigue with both the young adult genre and the franchise took a toll on “Allegiant,” the first of two planned releases 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.

“Allegiant” stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Zoë Kravitz, 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.

It got a boost from 459 Premium Large Format theaters, which delivered $3.7 million. IMAX accounted for six of the top 10 leading locations and $3.2 million bounty.

Lionsgate is still looking for a replacement for its blockbuster young adult franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games.” The studio also was  behind “Twilight,” another YA franchise that targeted mainly young women. Its last release, “The Gods of Egypt,” tanked.

The first two films in “The Divergent Series” have taken in $610 million and the finale “Ascendant” will come out in June next year. “Allegiant” this weekend added $22 million from 77 markets, lifting the international cume to $53 million and the global haul to $82 million.