LOS ANGELES, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Lionsgate's "Divergent" opened as the overwhelming number one choice for a movie this weekend in the United States and Canada.
The young-adult science-fiction thriller captured a solid 56 million U.S. dollars in the first weekend from 3,936 locations, according to estimates by box-office tracker Rentrak on Sunday. That made the debut the second largest opening weekend of 2014 by date, less than 69 million dollars start of "The LEGO Movie" last month.
"Divergent," a best-seller adaptation starring Shailene Woodley, also generated the eighth largest debut ever for the month of March.
"Divergent" received a strong "A" rating on CinemaScore, which gauges audience reaction. Forty percent of critics recommended it on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The audience was 59 percent female, according to the studio estimate.
Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" opened in second place with 16.5 million dollars in sales at 3,194 locations, which was 43.5 percent below the 29 million dollars opening weekend take of 2011' s "The Muppets." The sequel received a respectable "B+" rating on CinemaScore and a 77 percent of welcome rate from Rotten Tomatoes.
Last weekend's top film, "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" fell two spots and a significant 46 percent to be in third place in its third week of exhibition with 11.7 million dollars in weekend sales predicted. The 3D animation has grossed 81 million in 17 days of release.
Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend, as estimated by studios, were "300: Rise Of An Empire" (8. 7 million dollars), "God's Not Dead" (8.6 million), "Need For Speed" (7.8 million), "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (7 million), "Non- Stop" (6.3 million), "The LEGO Movie" (4.1 million) and "Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club" (3.1 million).