It's factions vs. Muppets this week at the box office, and if Fandango's "Fanticipation" meter is any indication, Divergent may come out ahead of Muppets Most Wanted. Given reports that the film's advance ticket sales got off to a good start, beating out Twilight's first-day advance ticket sales, signs were already pointing toward a successful opening weekend for Neil Burger's adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth's young adult dystopian series. Now online ticket vendor Fandango indicates that their ticket-buyers' buzz is highest for the film, topping the Muppets sequel...
Fandango's Fanticipation meter ranks Divergent's movie buzz at a dauntless 92 out of 100, noticeably above the 80 that Muppets Most Wanted has scored. On one hand, the Muppets film has the advantage of being a sequel as well as an installment to a beloved franchise. But on the other hand, it also may share an audience with previous release Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which is also targeting kids and families. Fandango's poll says that 82% of Muppets ticket buyers watched The Muppet Show on TV and 71% saw the 2011 Muppets movie.
Divergent's high score could be an indication that the film will not only do well at the box office, but possibly come out on top as well. Fandango polled more than 1,000 Divergent ticket-buyers at their site and found that 66% of them plan to go with a group of friends. Interestingly enough, only about half (54%) have read all three books in Roth's trilogy, which could be an indication that this film will reach beyond book readers to build its audience. That'll likely be necessary for the film to be a hit, possibly putting it in line with The Hunger Games, as opposed to The Mortal Instruments or Vampire Academy.
Fandango's poll also indicates that 56% of ticket-buyers are attracted to the movie's unique concept, which centers on a teen (Shailene Woodley) hiding her true nature in a dystopian society where people are divided into five factions. 29% of ticket buyers are attracted by the action, and 15% are showing up for the romance. This may be my optimism at work here, but that lower romance number could be an indication that movie fans are looking for more than just a love story, in which case, if Divergent follows closely enough to the book, we won't be disappointed in that respect. The story puts Woodley's Tris at the center. Though there is a budding romance between her and Theo James' character, it's not the only -- nor the main -- driving force within the story.
Another fun set of numbers from Fandango's survey: 50% would pick the "Dauntless" faction, 19% Amity, 15% Erudite, 10% Abnegation, 6% Candor.
For those who haven't read the books, the Dauntless are the tough and brave people. Amity's are friendly and good, Eurdite's are the brainy types, Abnegation people are selfless, and the Candor are the most vocal and honest... and sometimes rude.
We'll have to wait and see if buzz translates to box office dollars according to Fandango's breakdown.
Divergent and Muppets Most Wanted arrive in theaters March 21. Read our review of Divergent here. We'll be weighing in on Muppets Most Wanted soon!