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Sunday Update: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation was able to hold off Fantastic Four this weekend to remain in first place at the box office. Paramount's Rogue Nation led the way with an estimated $29.4 million, which represented a solid 47 percent decline from last weekend's debut. In the process, the fifth installment of the Tom Cruise led action franchise surpassed the $100 million domestic mark this weekend. Rogue Nation has grossed $108.65 million in ten days, as the film continues to perform in line with pre-release expectations. The film is currently running 28 percent ahead of the $85.10 million ten-day take of 2006's Mission: Impossible III (which fell 48 percent in its second weekend to gross $25.01 million) and 3 percent ahead of the $105.21 million ten-day gross of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which fell 49 percent in its second weekend to gross $27.83 million). Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is likely to hold up well throughout the rest of August, thanks in part to strong word of mouth and in part to the limited amount of new competition it will be facing throughout the second half of the month.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation took in an estimated $4.3 million from IMAX locations this weekend. That helped contribute to the film's solid hold this weekend and represented 14.6 percent of the film's overall weekend gross. The total IMAX domestic gross for Rogue Nation stands at $15.5 million to date.

Fantastic Four was off to a very weak second place start this weekend with an estimated $26.2 million. Fox's relaunch attempt of the Marvel superhero franchise didn't come anywhere close to expectations, which had tended to range from $40 million to $50 million heading into the weekend. Poor critical reviews and toxic early word of mouth that spread like wildfire as the weekend went on both clearly took a major toll on the film. In addition to the poor reception to the film, the decision to aim Fantastic Four heavily towards the young adult audience appears to have backfired as well. Fantastic Four opened a disappointing 55 percent behind the $58.05 million debut of 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and only outpaced the $22.00 million start of 2012's Chronicle (which was also directed by Josh Trank) by 19 percent.

Fantastic Four opened with $11.28 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.7 million from Thursday evening shows), fell a troubling 25 percent on Saturday to gross $8.50 million and is estimated to fall 24 percent on Sunday to gross $6.43 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of only 2.32 to 1, which obviously isn't a good sign going forward. As further evidence of just how toxic word early word of mouth for the film is, Fantastic Four earned a poor C- rating on CinemaScore and a Flixster audience score of just 26 percent. Given the poor reaction to the film, a short theatrical life span for Fantastic Four appears to be set in stone.

The news was far more promising for STX Entertainment's The Gift, as the new distributor's first release was off to a nice estimated third place start of $12.01 million. The Joel Edgerton directed thriller starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton outpaced its modest expectations. The Gift was helped out by strong critical reviews and likely also received a bit of a bump from serving as an alternative choice to moviegoers who ultimately passed on Fantastic Four (especially as the weekend went on). The Gift opened nearly on par with the $12.31 million start of The Giver last August and will hope to duplicate the strong holding power of that film going forward.

The Gift took in $4.13 million on Friday (which included an estimated Thursday night start of just $0.59 million), increased an encouraging 10 percent on Saturday to gross $4.54 million and is estimated to decrease 26.5 percent on Sunday to gross $3.34 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.91 to 1. The Gift received a B rating on CinemaScore, which is a solid early sign, especially for a thriller. Making this weekend's start even more impressive is that the film's reported production budget was only $5 million.

Warner's Vacation took fourth place with an estimated $9.15 million. The comedy franchise re-launch starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was down a very solid 38 percent from last weekend. Despite this weekend's hold, Vacation is still running significantly below expectations with a twelve-day start of $37.32 million. That places the film an underwhelming 17 percent behind the $45.06 million twelve-day take of last year's Let's Be Cops.

Ant-Man rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $7.83 million. The Paul Rudd led 3D superhero film from Disney and Marvel was down a solid 39 percent, as it also benefited from serving as an alternative choice to Fantastic Four this weekend. Thanks in part to solid holding power thus far, Ant-Man has grossed $147.44 million in 24 days. Ant-Man is now running just 6 percent behind the $156.97 million 24-day gross of 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.

In other box office news, Universal's Minions surpassed the $300 million domestic milestone this weekend after finishing in sixth place for the frame with an estimated $7.37 million. The blockbuster 3D computer animated prequel from Illumination Entertainment stabilized a bit this weekend, as it was down 40.5 percent from last weekend. Minions has grossed an impressive $302.72 million in 31 days.

Sony's Ricki and the Flash debuted in seventh with an estimated $7.0 million. The comedy drama starring Meryl Streep opened on the very low end of its modest expectations and was off to a lackluster start by Streep's box office standards. However, the film's opening weekend performance was deflated a bit by the decision to launch the film in a modest 1,603 locations. In an attempt to help the film's holding power going forward, Ricki and the Flash will be receiving a significant expansion next weekend. Streep's films also have a history of displaying strong holding power. Ricki and the Flash received a solid B rating on CinemaScore. It should also be noted that the film's reported production budget was just $18 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, Shaun the Sheep Movie, opened softly with an estimated eleventh place take of $4.0 million. Despite strong critical reviews, the stop-motion animated film from Lionsgate and Aardman Animations was unable to appeal to family audiences this weekend. Since its debut on Wednesday Shaun the Sheep Movie has grossed $5.57 million in five days. That places the film 55 percent behind the $12.27 million five-day take of 2012's The Pirates: Band of Misfits (which opened on a Friday). Shaun the Sheep Movie will hope to receive a boost going forward from its strong reviews and from the lack of new family fare entering the marketplace in the near future. The film also received an encouraging B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Saturday Update: Fox reports this morning that the Fantastic Four reboot grossed $11.3 million in first place on its opening day Friday, including Thursday night's $2.7 million from early shows. That's a hugely disappointing start for the third attempt to bring the respected comic book property to the big screen, falling 49 percent short of Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer's $21.99 million first day in 2007 (the first film bowed to a similar $21.3 million opening day in 2005). Moreover, it marks one of the ten weakest opening days ever for a Marvel-based adaptation (of which there are nearly 40, if you can believe it) -- and the lowest since 2012's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance ($6.94 million).

Despite tracking fairly well in recent weeks, the reboot's toxic reviews are certainly having an effect on the opening. Rotten Tomatoes critics' have given it just 9 percent as of Saturday morning, while audiences themselves have given it a sour 28 percent score so far. For the record, that's an abnormally low score after a high profile film's single day of release, and is the second lowest of any movie since we began tracking Saturday morning scores in 2013 (Devil's Due claimed 21 percent).

Needless to say, Fantastic Four will not have a long lifespan in theaters, and we're confident the negative buzz will impact the rest of the weekend itself (not unlike 2011's poorly received Green Lantern, which dropped 22 percent from Friday to Saturday). BoxOffice is projecting an opening frame around $27 million, putting the flick in second place.

The film we project will end up ahead of Fantastic Four for the weekend is Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, which earned an estimated $8.165 million in second place yesterday. That's down about 60 percent from opening day last week, comparable to the 58.5 percent Friday-to-Friday drop of August 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rogue Nation's eight-day domestic total stands at $87.4 million, putting it 2 percent ahead of the pace of the Apes reboot and 29 percent ahead of 2006's Mission: Impossible III. BoxOffice projects a strong $28 million sophomore frame.

Debuting in third place yesterday was STX Entertainment's The Gift with an excellent $4.1 million. The thriller from writer/director/actor Joel Edgerton is riding a wave of fantastic reviews (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and encouraging early word of mouth (85 percent on Flixster). All the more impressive for the sleeper title is its $5 million production budget, which will easily be made back this weekend. The studio notes that 53 percent of the audience was female and 73 percent over the age of 25. Look for an opening weekend around $10.6 million.

Vacation claimed fourth on Friday with another $2.655 million, down 41 percent from last Friday. With $30.84 million in the bank so far, the franchise revival pic seems to be leveling out somewhat. BoxOffice projects an $8.8 million sophomore weekend.

Ant-Man completed the top five with $2.256 million yesterday, down 39 percent from last Friday and bringing its haul up to $141.9 million. BoxOffice projects a $7.9 million weekend.

Just behind in sixth place was the debut of Ricki and the Flash with $2.25 million. The Meryl Streep-led dramedy's debut was in line with the Wednesday opening figure of $2.27 million by the actress' August 2012 release, Hope Springs. The studio notes the pic received a "B+" CinemaScore from the core female demo, and a "B" overall. Critics are mixed on the film (59 percent), as are Flixster users (56 percent). The production budget was $18 million, and the film expands to over 2,000 theaters next weekend. The studio projects a $7.2 million opening frame.

Meanwhile, Shaun the Sheep added $1.22 million yesterday, giving it a three-day total of $2.79 million. Despite excellent reviews (99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and considerable success with overseas crowds, the clay-mation release unfortunately isn't find a large audience domestically. Look for a weekend around $4 million, giving it an overall five-day bow of $6.8 million.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: According to various sources, Fantastic Four looks to be on pace for only $31 million-$33 million during its debut frame. Poor reviews and negative buzz coming off Thursday evening shows are both having an impact. Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation could end up finishing in first again if F4 hits the low end of projections.

The Gift is set for a solid $9 million and could get even higher if positive word of mouth continues to spread. Ricki and the Flash looking at an $8 million debut, while Shaun the Sheep should hit around $6 million.

Check back tomorrow for updated weekend projections and official studio numbers.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Fantastic Four bowed to a lackluster $2.7 million from shows beginning at 8pm in 2,900 theaters last night. Unfortunately, that's the latest bit of bad news for the franchise reboot following a plethora of negative reviews (the film currently stands at 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). This arguably marks the weakest preview/midnight gross for a supposed A-list comic book adaptation in era when they've become fairly reliable and predictable. By comparison, last night's earnings were over 20 percent less than Green Lantern's $3.4 million in June 2011 -- and that film didn't begin shows until midnight.

At this current pace, and with word of mouth expected to quickly sour audience interest, the Fantastic Four reboot might struggle to reach a $25-30 million opening weekend (the low end of that range based on using Ant-Man's recent Thursday-to-weekend ratio). If that holds, last week's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation could pull off an unexpected repeat finish in first place for its sophomore frame.

Meanwhile, sources report that The Gift earned $585,000 from early shows in 1,820 locations last night. Given its low $5 million production budget, that's a fair start going into the weekend as it compares favorably to the $330,000 early show gross of last month's Self/Less and the $470,000 Thursday bow of last August's As Above/So Below -- neither of which had the strong reviews that The Gift does.

Ricki and the Flash also debuted last night, pulling $200,000 from early shows. The Meryl Streep flick will hope to draw out its target older audience over the weekend.

Last but not least, Shaun the Sheep is estimated to have grossed $715,000 during its second full day of release, giving it a two-day domestic tally of $1.567 million heading into the weekend.

Check back for more updates throughout the day and weekend.

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By Daniel Garris

Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation took in $4.51 million on Thursday to lead the daily box office for a seventh consecutive day. The fifth installment of the Tom Cruise led action franchise was down a sharp 13 percent from Wednesday. Holdovers in general experienced sharp daily declines on Thursday, in part from Fox's Fantasstic Four entering the marketplace Thursday evening and in part from the highly watched Republican presidential primary debate. Rogue Nation was the week's top film with a healthy seven-day start of $79.25 million. The film is performing in line with expectations and is currently running 32 percent ahead of the $60.09 million seven-day take of 2006's Mission: Impossible III.

Minions held steady in second place with $1.64 million. The 3D computer animated prequel from Universal and Illumination Entertainment was down 6 percent from Wednesday and down a solid 42 percent from last Thursday. Minions placed in third for the week with $20.16 million. The film was down 43.5 percent from the previous frame and has grossed an impressive $295.35 million through four weeks of release. Minions is set to surpass the $300 million domestic milestone sometime over the weekend.

Ant-Man was up one spot from Wednesday to move into third with $1.66 million. The Paul Rudd led 3D superhero film from Disney and Marvel declined 9 percent from Wednesday and 45 percent from last Thursday. That represented a solid daily hold, especially given the new competition the film faced from Fantastic Four. Ant-Man placed in fourth for the week with $20.08 million. That represented a 47.5 percent decline from the previous week and brings the film's three-week total to a very solid $139.61 million.

Warner's Vacation fell one spot from Wednesday to land in fourth with $1.49 million. The comedy franchise re-launch starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate fell 10 percent from Wednesday and 40 percent from last Thursday. Vacation took second place for the week with $21.86 million and has grossed a significantly softer than expected $28.18 million in nine days of release. That places the film an underwhelming 18 percent behind the $34.25 million nine-day start of last year's Let's Be Cops.

Pixels rounded out Thursday's top five with $1.29 million. The Adam Sandler led 3D action comedy from Sony was down a sharp 12 percent from Wednesday and down a solid 42.5 percent from last Thursday. Pixels placed in fifth for the week with $17.00 million. The film was down 52 percent from its opening week performance and has grossed a very lackluster $52.22 million through two weeks.

Meanwhile, Shaun the Sheep Movie placed in eighth on Thursday with $0.719 million. The stop-motion animated film from Lionsgate and Aardman Animations was down 16 percent from Wednesday's opening day performance. Shaun the Sheep has grossed just $1.57 million in two days. That isn't a good sign for the film heading into the weekend, even with its Wednesday release not being all that publicized in mind. Shaun the Sheep will hope to build up momentum over the weekend thanks in part to strong critical reviews. The film also received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. - August 6, 2015 - National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) (the Company), the managing member and owner of 45.2% of National CineMedia, LLC (NCM LLC), the operator of the largest in-theatre digital media network in North America, today announced that it will implement its Chairman and CEO succession plan. Kurt C. Hall, who helped found the Company in 2005 with the three leading cinema operators AMC, Cinemark and Regal, will retire as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer upon the appointment of his CEO successor. The Board of Directors has retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to identify a new CEO to succeed Mr. Hall. Upon the appointment of a new CEO, Scott N. Schneider, currently Lead Director of the Company's Board of Directors, will succeed Mr. Hall as Chairman of the Board and Mr. Hall will continue in a 24-month consulting role as an advisor to the Board and CEO to facilitate a seamless transition and consult on other business matters.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to lead NCM's talented and dedicated team from start-up through an exciting period of growth," said Kurt Hall, NCM's Chairman, President and CEO. "Since our initial public offering in 2007, we have consistently returned value to our shareholders as we have expanded the Company into a leading video advertising network through the creation of the world's largest cinema digital distribution network and formation of an expanding theatre circuit and advertising client relationship base. Given NCM's recent strong financial performance and strengthening market position, now seemed like the right time to transition to the next generation of leadership. It is also important to me to reduce my day-to-day participation with our company so that I can spend more time with my family after recovery from some recent health issues. With a meaningful investment in the Company, I look forward to continuing to work with the Company's Board and leadership team to ensure a seamless transition and strong growth and shareholder value creation for many years to come."

"On behalf of the NCM board, I want to thank Kurt for his commitment and many years of contributions to our company," said Scott N. Schneider, Lead Director of the NCM board. "Under his leadership, NCM has driven continued geographic expansion through additional theatre circuit agreements, improved our advertising products and significantly increased advertising revenue for our theatre circuit partners and dividends for our shareholders. Kurt has set the tone for our company for over 10 years, founding a structure that has provided enormous value to our shareholders, employees and affiliated theatres, and leading the Company to compete aggressively in the challenging video advertising marketplace. I am confident that the Company has a strong foundation in place and will continue to strengthen our offerings to drive growth and shareholder value under new leadership."

About Kurt C. Hall
 
While Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Regal Entertainment Group in 2002, Mr. Hall founded and was the CEO of one of NCM's predecessor companies, Regal CineMedia Corporation. Mr. Hall was appointed President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of NCM, LLC when it was formed in March 2005 as a partnership between AMC's media subsidiary National Cinema Network, Cinemark and Regal's media subsidiary Regal CineMedia, and has held those same positions with the Company since it went public in February 2007. Mr. Hall served as Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Regal Entertainment Group and President and Chief Executive Officer of Regal CineMedia from May 2002 to May 2005. From 1988 to 2002, Mr. Hall held various executive positions with United Artists Theatre Company, and its predecessor companies, including CFO and then CEO, prior to it becoming part of Regal Entertainment Group.

About Scott N. Schneider
 
Scott N. Schneider, currently Lead Director at the Company, has been on the Company's Board of Directors since February 2007. Mr. Schneider has provided financial consulting and advisory services to the communications industry since 2009. He also has over 35 years of experience in the media, telecom and technology industries, serving in various senior executive capacities with Century Communications Corp. (cable television); Centennial Communications Corp. (cellular / wireless); Frontier Communications Corp. (wireline telephone); and Electric Lightwave (digital bypass). In addition to having been a member of the Board of each, Mr. Schneider also served on the Boards of NuSkies, LLC and Bonten Media Group. Mr. Schneider also served as Chairman of the Media Group at Diamond Castle Holdings, a private equity firm.
 
About National CineMedia, Inc.
 
National CineMedia (NCM) is America's Movie Network. As the #1 weekend network in the U.S., NCM helps brands get in front of the movies that shape the national conversation. More than 700 million moviegoers annually attend theatres that are currently under contract to present NCM's FirstLook pre-show in over 40 leading national and regional theater circuits including AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC). NCM's cinema advertising network offers broad reach and unparalleled audience engagement with approximately 20,150 screens in approximately 1,600 theaters in 187 Designated Market Areas® (49 of the top 50). NCM Digital goes beyond the big screen, extending in-theater campaigns into online and mobile marketing programs to reach entertainment audiences. National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI) owns a 45.2% interest in, and is the managing member of, National CineMedia, LLC. For more information, visit www.ncm.com. 
 
Forward-Looking Statements
 
This press release contains various forward-looking statements that reflect management's current expectations or beliefs regarding, among other things, the timing of selection of Mr. Hall's successor as CEO and succession to the position of Chairman of the Board, as well as the Company's expected continued performance under new leadership.  Investors are cautioned that reliance on these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties.
 
National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) (the Company) is the managing member and owner of 45.2% of National CineMedia, LLC (NCM LLC), the operator of the largest in-theatre digital media network in North America, and the #1 weekend network in America. 

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PRESS RELEASE:

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New Exhibitor & Distributor Customer Growth Comes as DCDC's Next-Generation Technology Transforms Theatres into a Network

Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 6, 2015 - Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition ("DCDC"), the transformative North American theatrical content distribution organization founded by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres and AMC Theatres, today announced it is accelerating the rollout of its network and will surpass 32,000 screens in more than 3000 theatre locations in 2018.

Rapid exhibitor and distributor customer growth since DCDC's October 2013 launch comes as the specially created North American network, comprised of next-generation satellite and terrestrial distribution technologies, succeeds in transforming theatres into nodes on a network that can be programmed for various audiences.

"The DCDC Network has effectively converted traditional movie theatres into true community entertainment centers that have successfully expanded the shared content experience for consumers to all forms of content, including movies, operas, ballets, eSports, live-store and live- live events, from anywhere in the world," said DCDC CEO Randy Blotky.

Just since May, fifteen additional exhibitors with approximately 200 locations and more than 1,800 screens have signed up, bringing the total number of theatre circuits under contract with DCDC to 73 across 2,300 theatre locations and 28,000 screens. As of August, more than 1,700 of those theatre locations already have DCDC's proprietary equipment installed, successfully delivering digital content to nearly 22,000 screens. To date, DCDC has made more than 360,000 successful deliveries over its network for its content provider customers.

The number of content providers that have joined DCDC has also continued to grow and now stands at 24. Since the spring, several additional distributors have become DCDC customers, including The Weinstein Company, STX Entertainment, Arts Alliance Distribution, BY Experience, Gathr Films, Group 1200 Media, Magnolia Pictures, Pure Flix, SpectiCast and Shorts International. They have taken their place alongside all of the major studios, the leading independents and other content providers as customers of DCDC.

Contributing to the influx of new distributors has been DCDC's focus on offering a new high- quality, live-streaming technology solution that it unveiled at CinemaCon in April. Working in conjunction with its primary service provider, Deluxe-EchoStar, the new system is designed to allow the DCDC KenCast catch server to stream live content into an unlimited number of auditoriums from two simultaneous real-time 1080p-HD event feeds, as well as two additional pre-recorded events (encores). This allows exhibitors the flexibility to book up to four events simultaneously to an unlimited number of auditoriums.


"The rapid growth we are experiencing can be directly attributed to the unprecedented and close collaboration among the five owners of DCDC in creating a highly unique mechanism for the use and benefit of the entire industry," Mr. Blotky commented. "They have engaged in the incredibly complex work of designing an electronic content delivery network that has accommodated both technological and business considerations; allowed for the creation of an economic operating model that has accrued significant cost savings to content provider and exhibitor customers of DCDC; and enhanced the flow of creative properties to theatres across the U.S. while benefiting content creators and content consumers alike."

About the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition

DCDC was formed by AMC Theatres, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment to provide the industry with theatrical digital delivery services across North America through a specially created network comprised of next- generation satellite and terrestrial distribution technologies. It is capable of supporting feature, promotional, pre-show and live content distribution into theatres.

The Network is designed to ensure audiences have the highest-quality entertainment experience, while exhibitors and content providers achieve a strategic, secure and cost-effective new distribution model. As digital distribution replaces the use of traditional physical media for content distribution, users of the Network have access to a host of delivery options and resources.

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jul31.pngParamount reports that Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation added $5.2 million on Wednesday, giving the well-reviewed franchise sequel a six-day domestic tally of $74.74 million. That puts the film 2 percent ahead of the pace of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 30.5 percent ahead of 2006's Mission: Impossible III.

Minions held steady in second place yesterday with $1.75 million, down 38 percent from the same day last week. The animated prequel's domestic tally now stands at $293.7 million through 27 days of release as it approaches the $300 million threshold (which it will hit this coming weekend).

Vacation claimed third place yesterday with $1.66 million, off nearly 57 percent from its opening day last Wednesday. That gives the franchise revival an eight-day domestic sum of $26.69 million, putting it 45 percent behind the pace of 2013's We're the Millers.

In fourth place, Ant-Man was off 45 percent from last Wednesday to $1.65 million yesterday. The latest Marvel flick's domestic total stands at a healthy $138.1 million through 20 days of play.

In an impressive limited release debut, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' eased 19 percent from an already strong opening Tuesday to an estimated $1.6 million on Wednesday. With $3.57 million earned in two days from the pic's special engagement run, the anime release is performing well ahead of expectations.

In sixth, Pixels added $1.46 million for a 39 percent Wednesday-to-Wednesday drop. The Adam Sandler video game pic has tallied an underwhelming $50.9 million through 13 days of release.

Meanwhile, Shaun the Sheep debuted with $852K million in 2,202 locations yesterday. Given the film's last minute release date change from Friday, it remains to be seen whether or not it can draw out a stronger family audience this weekend.

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