“Independence Day: Resurgence” invaded the box office with $4 million on Thursday night while shark adventure “The Shallows” put the bite on $1.3 million and “The Free State of Jones” took in $365,000.
Fox’s “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which previewed at 3,200 North American theaters, has been forecast for an opening weekend of $50 million at 4,068 locations — well behind the second weekend of “Finding Dory.” Disney-Pixar’s sequel is eyeing a second weekend of roughly $70 million following its record for an animated film debut at $135.1 million.
“Independence Day: Resurgence,” directed by Roland Emmerich, carries a $165 million price tag. Emmerich brought back original cast members such as Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, and added newcomers such as Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher to the mix.
The original “Independence Day,” starring Will Smith, was an immense success two decades ago. It opened with a then-massive $50 million domestically on its way to a $306 million U.S. total and $817 million worldwide.
“Independence Day: Resurgence” sees the fearsome aliens returning to wreak more destruction as Earth’s inhabitants again band together in a bid for survival. Prospects have been tempered by a mixed performance this summer among sequels, though “Finding Dory” has generated stellar numbers so far with $195 million domestically in its first six days through Wednesday.
If the second weekend for “Finding Dory” cracks the $70 million mark in the U.S., it will be only the 12th film to do so.
STX’s Civil War drama “Free State of Jones” is also launching this weekend in wide release. “Jones” is expected to take in around $12 million at 2,815 locations, which will leave it in fourth behind the second weekend of New Line-Universal comedy “Central Intelligence.”
“Jones” stars Matthew McConaughey as the leader of an armed rebellion against the Confederacy. The film cost $50 million to make with STX bringing in partner IM Global to handle international rights.
Sony’s “The Shallows” follows Blake Lively’s character as she battles for survival against a shark. It carries a $17 million price tag and is looking at an opening of $7 million when it debuts on roughly 2,800 screens. The film is one of the first greenlit under Tom Rothman, Sony’s new film chief, after he took over the studio in 2015.
Broad Green is handling the release of horror film “The Neon Demon” for Amazon Studios in 783 locations with expectations for a debut in the $2 million to $3 million range. Nicolas Winding Refn’s dreamlike look at the world of fashion debuted to mixed reviews in Cannes.