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Box Office: ‘Fate of the Furious’ Runs Circles Around Tom Hanks-Emma Watson Thriller

Universal’s tentpole “The Fate of the Furious” will win its third straight box office crown with about $18 million this weekend, easily fending off the Tom Hanks-Emma Watson thriller “The Circle,” early estimates showed Friday.

The Circle” will wind up the weekend with about $11 million at 3,163 sites. Romantic comedy “How to be a Latin Lover” is performing respectably in its debut with a projected $7 million at 1,118 venues.

Both new movies had been expected to trail “The Fate of the Furious” this weekend. The eighth film in Universal’s “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has dominated the domestic box office for the past two weeks, topping $173 million in its first 14 days.

“The Circle” generated a modest $430,000 in Thursday night previews, trailing the take for “Latin Lover” by $20,000. The film is being jointly handled by STX and EuropaCorp, and had been projected to reel in between $10 million and $15 million. The movie, which premiered on Wednesday at the Tribeca Film Festival, has a relatively inexpensive $18 million budget.

“The Circle” stars Hanks as the founder of a Silicon Valley social media company, with Watson portraying an employee who finds herself in a dilemma over privacy and tech ethics. Dave Eggers co-wrote the screenplay, based on his novel of the same name. James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”) directed and produced.

Pantelion, a joint venture between Lionsgate and Mexico-based Televisa, is releasing “How to Be a Latin Lover,” whichhad expected to bow to about $7 million at 1,118 sites. The film marks the feature directorial debut of Ken Marino, and stars Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, and Kristen Bell.

Fox’s fifth weekend of “The Boss Baby” will be battling “Latin Lover” for third place at about $7 million. The animated comedy from DreamWoks Animation, has outperformed expectations with about $140 million domestically.

Great India Films’ launch of action sequel “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” will also be contending for the third spot with as much as $7 million at 450 locations.

Disney’s seventh weekend of “Beauty and the Beast” is forecast to finish with around $6 million, lifting its domestic total to around $480 million. It is the ninth-largest domestic grosser of all time, trailing “Finding Dory” at $486 million.

Domestic box office has been outperforming the same period of 2016 by a solid 4.1% through April 26 with $3.619 billion, according to comScore. Key contributors besides “Fate of the Furious” have been “Beauty and the Beast,” “Logan,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “Split” and “Get Out.”

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said next weekend’s release of Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” should charge up the box office again.

“A year to date advantage that has dropped about a percentage point in a week, will start moving again in the right direction starting Thursday night as ‘Guardians 2’ will get the ball rolling for what promises to be an incredible month of May brimming with a strong mix films from almost every genre and venerable big name franchises, one featuring a pirate named Sparrow and the other, a scary as hell alien from space,” he added.

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