‘Ender’s Game’ Tracking for $27 Million Opening; Will Franchise Continue?

Lionsgate/Summit remains optimistic as sci-fi adventure looks to build momentum

Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” may be one of the most beloved young adult novels of the 20th century, but does that assure financial success for Hollywood’s bigscreen adaptation?

Not necessarily.

The $110 million-budgeted movie, starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford, is currently tracking for a so-so $27 million debut and likely won’t hit $100 million in domestic ticket sales. Some observers have the opening in the $30 million-$32 million range with the movie’s potential U.S. cume at somewhat lower than “Oblivion” ($89 million) and “Pacific Rim” ($101 million).

With two weeks until release there’s still plenty of upside to build momentum for the sci-fi adventure but one distribution exec said Monday that he “doubts its franchise capability.”

Still, word of mouth on the Gavin Hood-directed film has been decent (“It’s surprisingly solid,” one source says), while an overseas boost for the sci-fi movie could keep the “Ender’s Game” franchise alive for further installments. There are 12 novels in the “Ender’s Game” series as well as short stories and comics.

Described as “Harry Potter meets Star Wars” in the fanboy universe, “Ender’s Game” is about a boy who is given the responsibility to lead the world’s military against an alien invasion. Pic co-stars Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and Ben Kingsley.

Lionsgate/Summit is mounting a respectable marketing campaign thus far in the U.S., where the movie opens Nov. 1 and faces a few B.O. titans before Thanksgiving like Marvel’s “Thor” sequel (Nov. 8) and “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Nov. 22).

“It has to be big enough to capture the scope of the book… but also be a tent pole that is financially responsible,” producer Roberto Orci recently said in an interview.

As for how responsible remains to be seen.

The OddLot Entertainment-backed picture begins its international rollout this Friday in the U.K.

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