Box Office: ‘Angry Birds’ Flocking Toward Winning $40 Million-Plus Debut

The Angry Birds Movie” is heading for a happy landing this weekend at the U.S. box office, topping “Captain America: Civil War” and “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” with at least $40 million, early estimates showed Friday.

Sony’s animated avian tale is taking the early lead with $12 million on Friday at 3,932 locations. The 15th day of Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America” should come in at about $10 million to edge Universal’s opening of “Neighbors 2,” which stands to earn about $9 million at 3,389 sites. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ launch of action-comedy “The Nice Guys” looks likely to pull in $4 million at 2,865 screens on Friday.

“The three new films are significantly different from each other and draw from diverse audience pools. That’s a good thing, but certainly there is only so much revenue to go around and all will have to really tap into their respective target audiences to be successful,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, said. “‘Angry Birds’ had already banked significant cash internationally and could have a very happy weekend with kids and families flocking to see the film.”

“Neighbors 2” led the way in Thursday night previews with $1.7 million while “Angry Birds” earned $800,000 from 2,804 locations and “The Nice Guys” drew $700,000. But the early numbers indicate that “Angry Birds” caught on somewhat better than expected with a range of Friday estimates running from $38 million to $45 million.

“Angry Birds,” which carries a $73 million budget, is set on an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds – except for Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), speedy Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride). It opened in international markets last weekend to $43 million.

Friday’s estimates indicated that the avians should have enough support at multiplexes, with many schoolchildren on summer vacation, to top “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Captain America” appears to be heading for a weekend in the $35  million to $37 million range for a decline of about 50% from its second session — the eighth-highest of all time at $72.6 million. Should that estimate hold, “Captain America” could match “Zootopia” for the 10th best third weekend at $37.1 million.

“Captain America” passed $314 million at the domestic box office on Thursday, its 14th day of release. It’s topping the $1 billion mark on Friday to become the 25th film to hit the milestone.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne and Chloë Grace Moretz, looks likely to finish the weekend at around $25 million — about half of the $49 million launch of original “Neighbors” two years ago. The comedy ultimately hauled $150 million domestically.

“Neighbors 2” will still be a money-maker, given its decent critical support (a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). With Warner Bros. opting to open “The Nice Guys” at the same time, the two titles are going after similar demographics and may have performed better had they launched on separate weekends.

“The Nice Guys” is heading toward a moderate $12 million launch amid strong critical support (an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes). The movie is directed by Shane Black from a script he co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi. Set in 1977 Los Angeles, the buddy comedy is toplined by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.

Warner Bros. has a limited exposure on “The Nice Guys,” which premiered Monday at the Cannes Film Festival, as it only acquired the domestic distribution rights to the $50 million project.

 

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