The $130 million film was expected to launch in the $35 million-$40 million range but those figures are long gone.
Summit/Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me” is trailing close behind with north of $20 million for the weekend, an impressive and somewhat surprising haul for the Jesse Eisenberg caper.
Universal’s “Fast & Furious 6,” meanwhile, will easily take the No. 1 position with an estimated $40 million in its second week of release.
In a surprising development, Summit’s “Now You See Me” earned $1.5 million Thursday night at the U.S. box office, beating director M. Night Shyamalan and Sony’s $1 million launch for “After Earth.”
“Now You See Me,” which cost nearly $75 million compared to “After Earth’s” estimated $130 million budget, opened at 7 p.m. Thursday night, while the Will Smith-Jaden Smith actioner bowed at 9 p.m.
Still, the numbers are a troubling sign for Sony and Shyamalan, who has been all but M.I.A. in the studio’s marketing campaign.
Starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith, “After Earth” is still expected to pull ahead of “Now You See Me” with a $35 million-plus opening.
“Now You See Me,” directed by Louis Leterrier, is on track for a $20 million debut.
Last weekend’s B.O. champ, “Fast and Furious 6,” will likely stay at No. 1 in its second weekend with an estimated $50 million over three days. Previous “Fast” movies have dropped sharply in their second weekends, but the strong opening for the sixth edition shows that the drop may be less than other editions.