The stars have aligned for “The Fault in Our Stars,” with Friday estimates reaching as high as $50 million for the tear-jerking romance’s opening weekend in the U.S.
The film — starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort — looked likely to hit somewhere in the $20 million to $22 million range on Friday, including an impressive $8.2 million in Thursday night showings. Saturday showings would probably come in around $17 million, followed by around $11 million on Sunday.
The launch for “The Fault in Our Stars” probably won’t match the $54 million that Woodley’s “Divergent” scored in its March 21-23 opening weekend — but the opening still looks to be stellar given the $12 million budget for “Stars.”
Fans of John Green’s novel about two cancer patients are showing enormous support for the movie version of “The Fault in Our Stars.” 20th Century Fox organized Thursday’s “The Night Before Our Stars,” a fan event at 650 theaters featuring simulcast interviews with the cast and a screening for $25 a ticket.
The Friday numbers indicate a “Stars” weekend that will wind up well above forecasts issued earlier this week that pegged an opening of $35 million to $40 million in 3,171 theaters. Fox was far more conservative, with earlier estimates of about $25 million.
Producers for “Fault in Our Stars” are Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen — both with extensive experience in hitting the young adult demo via the “Twilight” franchise.
Online ticket service Fandango reported that as of late morning, “The Fault in Our Stars” accounted for more than 70% of all weekend sales. Reviews have been strong, with an 82% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site.
Warner Bros.’ sci-fi tentpole “Edge of Tomorrow,” starring Tom Cruise, looked likely to bow in the $30 million to $32 million range. Friday estimates were in the $10 million to $12 million range, including $1.8 million in its latenight runs on Thursday.
“Edge of Tomorrow” has received impressive critical support, with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes rating for the story of a public relations officer forced to relive the same battle against alien invaders over and over. “Edge,” which carries a $178 million pricetag, debuts at 3,490 U.S. locations this weekend.
“Edge,” directed by Doug Liman, has already shown respectable traction at the foreign box office with $47 million, including a $6.7 million opening day in China, $5.8 million in its first two days in Korea and a $1.4 million opening day in Russia — the biggest opening ever for a Tom Cruise film in the territory.
Domestically, the opening weekend for “Edge of Tomorrow” appears likely to fall short of the $37 million taken last year by Cruise’s “Oblivion,” which went on to gross $289 million worldwide.
Disney’s second weekend of Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” looked likely to battle “Edge of Tomorrow” for the second slot in the U.S. with around $30 million to $32 million, representing a decline of 54% to 57% from its $69.4 million launch frame. Solid mid-week numbers have pushed the U.S. total to $93 million for the fantasy, which has already accumulated $235 million worldwide.