NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- LionsGate (LGF) is sliding during Friday's session as its latest franchise-in-the-making Divergent fails to live up to lofty expectations.

By market close, shares had tumbled 8.4% to $27.43. Trading volume of 6.2 million was four times its three-month average.

LionsGate's Divergent, a film adaptation of the bestselling young-adult trilogy by Veronica Roth, generated $4.9 million in domestic late-night sales on Thursday, March 20. By way of comparison, the first film in the Twilight franchise made $7 million at midnight showings upon its November 2008 release.

The movie, which follows a world in which society has been fractured into different factions based on virtues, has been pegged as the studio's next Hunger Games, an easy comparison to make given the film's plot and target audience.

According to Reuters, box office analysts project opening weekend ticket sales between $50 million and $68 million in domestic markets. While that's one-third of the $152.5 million generated by the first film in The Hunger Games franchise, it is by no measure weak -- making comparisons to the wildly successful film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is a high bar to measure any film against.

On Friday, LionsGate greenlit the film's sequel Insurgent, slated for release in March 2015. The third film in the trilogy, Allegiant, is set for a March 2016 debut but the project is yet to be given the greenlight.

"We're off to a great start with strong numbers from all regions of the country, urban, suburban and rural alike," CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. "We're confident that Divergent is on its way to becoming another important franchise for us."

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TheStreet Ratings team rates LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CP (LGF) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • LGF's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 118.51% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 38.61% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CP turned its bottom line around by earning $1.57 versus -$0.30 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income increased by 134.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $37.83 million to $88.76 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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