Box Office: ‘Baby Driver’ Races to $2.1 Million in Tuesday Night Previews

Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” sped to $2.1 million at 2,606 North American locations in Tuesday night previews.

Sony’s R-rated action-thriller, starring Ansel Elgort as a getaway car driver, expands to 3,150 sites Wednesday to get a head start on the Independence Day weekend. The studio is projecting an opening in the $13 million to $15 million range for the five-day Wednesday-Sunday period, while other projections have been in the $20 million area.

Early audience reaction was solid with 45% rating “Baby Driver” as “excellent” and another 34% as “very good,” according to comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. “Baby Driver,” released from Sony’s TriStar Pictures and MRC, has received strong critical support since its South by Southwest premiere in March and has a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Elgort portrays a talented driver named Baby who’s coerced into working for a crew of bank robbers headed by Kevin Spacey’s Doc character. Music has a major role in the movie since Elgort’s character relies on it to block out permanent tinnitus.

The “Baby Driver” budget is $34 million after rebates. Producers are Nira Park through her Big Talk Pictures, and Working Title principals Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan.

The holiday weekend is expected to be dominated by Illumination-Universal’s “Despicable Me 3,” which opens Friday at 4,529 locations amid studio expectations in the $85 million range while other forecasts peg it to wind up around  $90 million to $100 million.

New Line is also launching the R-rated comedy “The House,” starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, at about 3,000 venues on Friday. The studio is forecasting an opening in the $12 million-$14 million range. “The House” centers on a parents who open an illegal casino in a suburban basement to raise money for their daughter’s college tuition. Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing.

Paramount’s second weekend of “Transformers: The Last Knight” and Warner Bros.’ fifth frame of “Wonder Woman” will also be contending for second place. The fifth Transformers movie has grossed $73 million in its first six days.

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