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Box Office: ‘The Purge 3’ Expunges ‘Legend of Tarzan,’ ‘The BFG’ on Thursday Night

“The Purge” expunged Tarzan and the big friendly giant at the Thursday night box office.

The horror sequel opened with $3.6 million in Thursday night previews at 2,343 theaters. “The Legend of Tarzan” debuted respectably to $2.7 million, while Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG” launched with a modest $775,000.

The trio of new titles are expected to trail “Finding Dory” during the Independence Day weekend with Disney-Pixar’s blockbuster taking in at least $40 million over the four days. “Dory” has already topped $330 million domestically in less than two weeks.

Universal’s “The Purge: Election Year” outperformed its predecessors in Thursday night previews, with the original “The Purge” making $3.4 million in 2013 and “The Purge: Anarchy” taking in $2.6 million in 2014. The third entry in the Blumhouse micro-budget franchise should debut to about $27 million across 2,796 locations over four days — a solid result given its $10 million price tag.

The films take place in a future America in which all crime, including murder, is legal for one night a year. “The Purge: Election Year” stars Elizabeth Mitchell as a presidential candidate whose platform includes eliminating The Purge.

Warner Bros.’ “The Legend of Tarzan,” starring Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie, is expected to open with about $35 million at 3,561 North American locations. That’s a disappointing result, given its $180 million price tag. The pic will require strong performances from overseas markets in order to make it into the black by the end of its run.

Warner Bros. is opening “The Legend of Tarzan” in 19 international markets this weekend, including South Korea and Russia.

The BFG” has been forecast to open with $30 million from 3,357 theaters over the four-day holiday. Critics have received the Roald Dahl adaptation warmly, particularly Mark Rylance’s motion-capture work as a giant who befriends an orphan girl. Amblin Partners is backing the film along with Disney and Walden Media.

Fox’s second weekend of “Independence Day: Resurgence” will also figure into the competition with the new titles after opening with $41 million last weekend.

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