The second installment in the "Divergent" movie series, which is titled "Insurgent" and is based off the book of the same name by writer Veronica Roth, topped the box office this past weekend, coming in first over the Sean Penn action movie "The Gunman" and "Cinderella," Disney's live-action adaptation of their cartoon version of the story.
The opening-weekend gross of "Insurgent" is just about the same as 2014's "Divergent," according to the Associated Press. "Divergent" debuted with $54.6 million domestically and "Insurgent" bowed with $54 million. According to the AP, some industry observers thought "Insurgent" might gross more than the first film in its first weekend, but it did not.
Coming in at number one, "Insurgent" is far from a box office failure. But "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1," which came out this past November, did less well on its opening weekend than both the first movie in the series, "The Hunger Games" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," with "Mockingjay" grossing $123 million to the more than $152 million of "Hunger Games" and the more than $158 million of "Fire," according to Variety. Meanwhile, this August's movie "The Giver," which was based on the dystopian book of the same name, was considered a box office disappointment, opening with more than $12 million domestically, according to the website Buzzfeed. "The Maze Runner," which was based on a book of the same name by James Dashner, came out this fall and was considered a box office success, so is currently an exception.
But as for "Insurgent," it hasn't been well-reviewed – it currently holds a score of 42 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic – and some reviewers for "Insurgent" said that the dystopian setting is getting old. "The films, including the new 'Insurgent,' do so little to stray from well-worn YA paths," Associated Press writer Jake Coyle wrote of the series, while Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers found that the movie series "never loses the stale odor of also-ran" and Alonso Duralde of TheWrap called the new movie "overly familiar... not much makes this film stand out from its many competitors."
Some called the dystopian trend over in YA books themselves long ago – literary agent Barry Goldstein called the trend "dead" for books in a 2013 Monitor interview. Time will tell whether movies like "Maze" can keep it going or whether it's true at movie theaters, too.