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Box Office: ‘Chappie’ Opens with $750,000 Thursday Night

Sony’s sci-fi adventure “Chappie” has opened with a modest $750,000 at latenight Thursday showings in the U.S.

The film, which centers on a police robot that learns to think and feel, expands to 3,201 locations Friday. “Chappie,” directed by Neill Blomkamp (“District 9,″ “Elysium”), has been forecast as the top performer this weekend with an opening in the $20 million range — though Sony is anticipating a debut in the mid teens.

Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman star along with Sharlto Copley’s titular robot. “Chappie” carries a pricetag of $49 million.

“Chappie” is expected to dominate two other comedy newcomers — Fox’s Vince Vaughn comedy “Unfinished Business,” opening at 2,777 locations, and Fox Searchlight’s “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at 1,572 locations. The “Marigold” sequel — a first for Searchlight — has been pegged for a $7 million opening, while “Unfinished Business” should land at $5 million to $6 million.

Warner Bros.’ second weekend of Will Smith’s “Focus” should come in second with around $10 million. It’s taken in $24.7 million in its first week.

“Focus” led a mild U.S. box office last weekend with $18.7 million, including $900,000 from Thursday night shows.

UPDATE, 9:40 a.m. PST – Fox reports that “Unfinished Business” grossed $250,000 at 1,985 locations in Thursday night shows.

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