LOS ANGELES, Calif. - "Zootopia" continues to run wild over its rivals in its third weekend in theatres, stomping all over the launch of "Allegiant," the third film in the "Divergent" series.
The animated Disney film featuring the voices of Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin earned $38 million this weekend to take first place once again, according to comScore estimates Sunday. It's now earned $201.8 million domestically.
It stole the thunder from "The Divergent Series: Allegiant," starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, which opened in second place with an estimated $29.1 million from 3,740 locations.
It's a new low for the YA series based on Veronica Roth's novels, which both opened north of $50 million, but not unexpected. Lionsgate broke up Roth's final book into two movies, the second of which, "Ascendant," launches next year. And, like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," it's not unusual for Part 1 of a 2-film finale to fall short of some of its predecessors.
"It's had mixed results in general, but it's also had great results so I can't really fault a studio for going with that strategy," said Paul Dergarabedian, comScore's senior media analyst. "It's like skipping ahead in a book. I think it's a strategy that may want to be reconsidered. But there are other factors — is the movie good? What are the conditions of the marketplace?"
Dergarabedian also noted that fickleness of the teen audience might be playing into the big drop from the previous films.
"They're chasing an audience that is very difficult to pin down," he said. "What might be cool to them one day isn't cool the next."
But while the future of drawn out YA franchises might be looking as bleak as the dystopias they portray, one genre that does seem to produce near-consistent hits is that of the faith-based film.
The latest entry, Sony's "Miracles From Heaven," took third place this weekend with an impressive $15 million. The film, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, opened Wednesday. It's earned $18.6 million to date, and cost only $13 million to produce.
Audiences, who were 65 per cent female and 75 per cent over the age of 25, gave the film an A+ CinemaScore, which bodes well for its longevity going into the Easter holiday weekend.
It's no secret that there have been a slew of faith-based breakout hits, but not many of them have mainstream Hollywood stars on the level of Garner and Latifah.
"These films are a home run in terms of having modest budgets and an audience, but star power does make a difference," Dergarabedian said.
Rory Bruer, Sony's President of Worldwide Distribution, agreed.
"It has a faith-based core, but this movie is for everyone," Bruer said.
Rounding out the top five were holdovers "10 Cloverfield Lane" and "Deadpool" with $12.5 million and $8 million, respectively.
The weekend overall was about on par with last year, but the 2016 box office is thriving, up 10.5 per cent from 2015 — a number that is likely to rise when "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" opens next weekend.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Zootopia," $38 million.
2. "The Divergent Series: Allegiant," $29.1 million.
3. "Miracles From Heaven," $15 million.
4. "10 Cloverfield Lane," $12.5 million.
5. "Deadpool," $8 million.
6. "London Has Fallen," $6.9 million.
7. "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," $2.8 million.
8. "The Perfect Match," $1.9 million.
9. "The Brothers Grimsby," $1.4 million.
10. "The Revenant," $1.2 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr