Saturday Update: Universal reports that Furious 7 once again held first place on Friday with an estimated $8.3 million, down 56 percent from last Friday. That brings the well-received blockbuster sequel's domestic total up to $273.65 million through 15 days of release, just 3 percent behind where The Hunger Games stood at the same point in its release during the same time of year in 2012. The studio projects a very strong $25.5 million third frame.
Opening in second place yesterday, Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 bowed to $7.3 million, giving Kevin James his best opening day as the leading man in five years. The sequel to 2009's surprise hit comedy was off 25 percent from its predecessor's first day take and is expected by the studio to land around $22 million for its opening weekend. Unfortunately, early reviews score a flat 0 percent out of 37 critic entries on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience score sits at just 58 percent. Given the target audience, however, the film is expected to play somewhat better with families than the Internet crowd, but don't expect long legs for this entry as with the first pic. Overall, with a $30 million production budget, this is certainly a successful opening.
Universal's Unfriended took in $6.8 million in its first day yesterday. By comparison, last year's Oculus took in $4.97 million on its first day. The horror-suspense aimed at teens and young adults had been the recipient of big social media buzz for the past few months (mainly Facebook), but that hype peaked a bit too soon and prevented a larger breakout. At 66 percent, critics are favoring the film slightly more than audiences (56 percent). That said, this debut still bests studio expectations and should be considered a success for the low-budget pic. Universal is projecting a $16.2 million opening weekend.
Home claimed fourth place yesterday with another $2.425 million, off over 56 percent from last week. The DreamWorks hit animation has tallied $134.7 million to date and is projected to earn $10.4 million this weekend.
In fifth place, The Longest Ride dropped 56.5 percent from opening day last week to $2.4 million yesterday. With $19.1 million in the bank through eight days of release, the film is pacing nearly 32 percent ahead of fellow Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me. Look for a $7.5 million sophomore frame.
Also opening this weekend, DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom pulled $1.55 million yesterday. While that's down from Bears' $2.3 million first day last year, this is the first DisneyNature release to receive a standard Friday opening while also lacking the aid of Good Friday-boosted grosses. That said, opening weekend should land around $4.7 million. Early reviews are enthusiastic with a 93 percent critics' score, and a modest 72 percent audience score.
Meanwhile, opening in semi-limited release this weekend was True Story, a dramatic feature starring Jonah Hill and James Franco. The pic earned $685,000 from 831 locations on opening day, making for an $824 per-screen average. For the weekend, the film could bring in around $1.9 million.
Also opening in limited release, Child 44 brought in $0.23 million from 510 locations yesterday, giving it a $443 per-theater average. BoxOffice projects a $0.7 million opening frame for the under-the-radar flick led by Tom Hardy.
Check back on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.
Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Furious 7 should have no problem holding on to first place this weekend with a third-weekend haul north of $25 million.
Unfriended and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 are fighting for second place. Unfriended seems to have the edge and it could end up with $19 million, while Blart 2 is pacing for $18 million.
Monkey Kingdom should snag a modest $6 million haul.
Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.
Friday Update #1: Sources report that Unfriended landed an estimated $656,000 from shows beginning at 8pm last night. That's somewhat ahead of last year's Oculus, which with a similar release date and R rating took in $480,000 from shows starting at 10pm (onward to a $12 million frame). Early reviews have been positive relative to most films in the horror/thriller genre, which could be a good sign for word of mouth among the target young adult audience.
Meanwhile, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 took in $450,000 from shows starting at 7pm Thursday. That's generally on par with Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb's $490,000 last December, although that film opened close to Christmas so it's very possible Blart 2 will be able to top that flick's $17.1 million first weekend.
No early show grosses had been reported for DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom at the time of publishing.
For the weekend, Furious 7 remains the favorite to claim first place for its third week in a row as strong word of mouth continues to drive the well-reviewed blockbuster.
Check back for more updates throughout the day and weekend.