By Daniel Garris
Lionsgate's Divergent led the way on Thursday with $3.07 million. The highly anticipated young adult adaptation starring Shailene Woodley was down 7 percent from Wednesday. Divergent was easily the week's top film with a very solid seven-day start of $68.76 million. The opening week performance of Divergent was 26 percent softer than the $93.36 million seven-day start of 2008's Twilight and 104 percent stronger than the $33.75 million seven-day take of last year's Ender's Game. With Paramount's Noah entering the marketplace, Divergent is widely expected to fall to second place this weekend.
Speaking of Noah, the Darren Aronofsky directed biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, was off to a solid late night start with an estimated $1.6 million from late night shows that began at 7 p.m. That was 33 percent stronger than the recent $1.2 million late night start of Fox's Son of God. It should be noted that late night shows for Son of God began at 10 p.m., though initial sales for that film were also greatly boosted by group pre-sales. As is commonplace, the early grosses for Noah will be counted towards Friday's performance. Check back throughout the weekend for further updates on the progress of Noah at the box office.
Turning back to Thursday, Muppets Most Wanted rounded out its first week of release with a second place take of $1.11 million. The latest Muppets film from Disney was down 4 percent from Wednesday. Muppets Most Wanted placed in second for the week with a softer than anticipated $21.84 million in its first seven days of release. The film opened a disappointing 50 percent below the $43.63 million seven-day start of 2011's The Muppets (which did have the advantage of opening the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).
Mr. Peabody & Sherman held steady in third place with $1.01 million. The 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation fell 6 percent from Wednesday and was down a very slim 11 percent from last Thursday. Mr. Peabody & Sherman placed in third for the week with $16.11 million. That represented a 41 percent decline from the previous frame and brings the film's three-week total to a respectable $85.41 million.
God's Not Dead took in $0.897 million to continue to claim fourth place. The faith-based drama from Freestyle and Pure Flix was down 8 percent from Wednesday. It should be noted that wide releases in general took larger than usual hits on Thursday due in part to Noah entering the marketplace. God's Not Dead claimed fourth place for the week with $12.95 million. That was stronger than expected and places the film 15 percent ahead of the $11.29 million seven-day start of 2011's Courageous. God's Not Dead will be playing in 1,178 locations this weekend.
Fox Searchlight's The Grand Budapest Hotel continued its impressive run in limited release with a seventh place take of $0.597 million. The Wes Anderson directed film fell 13 percent from Wednesday and generated a strong per-location average of $1,964 for the day. The Grand Budapest Hotel grossed $9.42 million this week, which brings the film's three-week total to $15.63 million. The film will be playing in 977 locations this weekend.