Though Insurgent, the second film based on Veronica Roth’s Divergent novels, made $54 million at the weekend box office, it’s always important to remember that theatrical runs—like YA series—never end after the first one.
What ultimately decides the box office story of Insurgent, especially considering its expanded $110 million budget (up from Divergent’s $85 million), is the second weekend, where it will face off against the combined box office might of Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell in Get Hard. A lot of factors go into how second-week drops are interpreted by analysts, but the rule of thumb for big-budget films is as follows: anything below 50 percent is good, 50 percent is all right, 60 percent is disappointing, 70 percent and above is bad news. In the genre’s recent explosion, YA adaptations have, on average, tended to see a drop around 55 percent, but there is some variance among series.
The sequels in The Hunger Games series, with its massive crossover appeal—the kind Divergent hasn’t exactly captured—have done exceptionally well. After the first film tumbled 62 percent in its second week, both Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1 improved the series average, each only falling 53 percent in their second weeks.
The Twilight Saga, on the other hand, practically specialized in cramming all of the Twi-hards in during opening weekend, before a steep stumble. Since the series kickstarted the YA film adaptation trend in 2008, New Moon has had the largest drop of any other film in the genre, falling 70 percent, week over week, barely beating the two chapters of Breaking Dawn, both of which plummeted 69 percent.
But a quick look at Shailene Woodley’s recent YA track record shows how wide the difference can vary. Divergent only saw a moderate 53 percent drop, while The Fault in Our Stars fell more sharply, at 69 percent. Since series trends have been a decent indicator of second-week performances, at least a 53 percent seems likely, but that’s far from a sure thing. For Tris and the other initiates, the only guarantee at this point is a sequel.