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March 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Lionsgate may have launched a hot teen franchise with Divergent over the weekend, but the film receiving the most buzz continued to be Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Expanding to to 304 screens in its third weekend, the movie brought in $6.8 million, or an average of $22,329 per theater — by far the best per-theater average of any film in release and an astonishing number for one that has been out for three weeks. (The movie averaged $202,792 per theater in its first week, playing in two theaters in New York and two in Los Angeles — a record.) Fox Searchlight has said that it plans to expand Grand Budapest into more than 800 theaters next week. “We are seeing large audiences beyond the art house and specialized crowd and have definitely begun to cross over into the mainstream,” Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president at Fox Searchlight, told the Los Angeles Times. That already appears to be happening overseas, where the movie has now grossed $33.1 million. Another small film also made a major impact over the weekend. The faith-based God’s Not Dead opened with $9.2 million, nearly five times more than what it reportedly cost to produce. Meanwhile, the verdict on Divergent‘s box-office performance was good but not great. With $54.6 million, the film opened well behind the original Twilight movie and The Hunger Games‘ first weekends, but the figure nevertheless represented the second-biggest box-office haul of the season. If there was a single film to grouch about this weekend it was Muppets Most Wanted, which fell far short of analysts’ predictions with just $17 million. (The previous Muppets movie, 2011’s The Muppets, opened with $29.2 million.)