Sin City a Dame to Kill

According to early estimates, The Weinstein Co.’s “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is practically dead on arrival.

Friday’s projections showed the sequel appeared heading for an opening weekend in the $10 million range at 2,894 sites — far below recent estimates of a $15 million launch — with a meager first-day gross of $3.6 million including a sparse $475,000 from Thursday night shows.

Despite TWC’s noir-drenched marketing campaign and the star power of  Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is likely headed for fifth or sixth place. It currently trails Chloe Grace Moretz’s weeper “If I Stay,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” the launch of low-budget sports drama “When the Game Stood Tall” and possibly the second weekend of “Let’s Be Cops.”

The nine-year hiatus between the original “Sin City” and the sequel appears to have dissipated any lingering good will from the original, which opened impressively with a $29 million weekend and went on to gross $74 million. Critical support has been lacking with a 41% fresh rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator site.

The original “Sin City” carried a price tag of $40 million and the sequel is more expensive. It’s a service deal for TWC, which is putting up P and A costs while Aldamisa Entertainment arranged the financing; financers include Demarest Films, Kilburn Media and Solipist Films.

“If I Stay” looks likely to eke out a first-place finish in the $17 million range with about $7 million at 2,902 locations on Friday, including $1.1 million from Thursday night shows. That’s slightly below recent forecasts for the YA tearjerker, backed by Warner Bros./New Line and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Warner Bros. has pushed aggressively to tie the film to the popular Gayle Foreman novel. “Stay” carries a modest budget of about $11 million so it should be able to recoup its costs easily.

Marvel/Disney’s “Guardians and the Galaxy” appeared to be the closest competitor with a projected $4.6 million on Friday, putting the goofy franchise starter on track for a $16.5 million weekend — enough to become the third 2014 title to top $250 million after “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” at $259 million and “The Lego Movie” at $257 million.

Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” should see a 50% decline and  bring in between $14 million and $15 million during the weekend, boosting its U.S. total to about $144 million.

Sony’s launch of football drama “When the Game Stands” looked likely to finish fourth with about $12 million, including $425,000 on Thursday night. The weekend will be better than Lionsgate’s “Draft Day,” which opened with a $9.8 million  weekend in April, and slightly above recent forecasts.

Fox’s “Let’s Be Cops” will be in a battle for fifth place with “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” with a second weekend of about $10 million. The comedy was on track to slide about 43% from its opening and wind up with close to $45 million in its first 10 days.

Box office estimates for the weekend:

1. “If I Stay” – $17 million
2. “Guardians of the Galaxy” – $16.5 million
3. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – $14.5 million
4. “When the Game Stands” – $12 million
5. TIED: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and “Let’s Be Cops” – $10 million

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