UPDATE SUNDAY 12:30PM “Divergent” actually made only $56 million, falling way short of expectations.

EARLIER I knew “The Hunger Games.” And “Divergent,” you are no “Hunger Games. ”

Indeed, “Divergent” made $22 million last night. The tween action hit, first in a series, will be happy with a $60 million weekend. But it is no “Hunger Games.” The first of those films made $67 million on its opening night, one night, baby. “Divergent” is going to make a fraction of what “The Hunger Games”
made, but no one’s sneezing at it. The budget was around $100 million. Lions Gate will make money. Maybe for part 2, “Detergent” or whatever it’s called, they can make a better movie.

Last night Brian Williams featured a women’s book club on “NBC Nightly News” that not only read “Divergent” but talked about it like it was the tablets from the mount. Williams sounded very thrilled at the discovery that women in their 20s and 30s were reading a Young Adult book. I find it very discouraging, actually. Was public education for that generation so bad that adults can only handle books written for teenagers? Considering all the great female writers of adult level books– from Margaret Atwood to Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, not to mention Mary Gordon, Laurie Colwin, Lorrie Moore, and so on–I’d like to hope for more sophistication, not less, from this readership.

Meanwhile. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is steaming along — a big hit, and for more sophisticated enjoyment. And “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is chugging along, I’m sure much to the delight of Jay Ward’s heirs. I really miss the Bullwinkle store on Sunset Boulevard across from the Chateau Marmont. I hope you can buy the original “Sherman and Mr. Peabody” shows and “Rocky and Bullwinkle” on DVD. But it was such a pleasure in the early 90s. I think it’s a taco stand now.

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