Sony/Village Roadshow’s rebooted “Ghostbusters” is heading for a solid-but-not-stellar $45 million opening weekend for second place at the U.S. box office, early estimates showed Friday.
Illumination-Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” will be the winner with around $50 million at 4,381 sites this weekend, declining only 52% from its massive opening. The animated comedy’s 10-day total will be over $200 million by the end of Sunday.
Sony has maintained that the all-female “Ghostbusters” will finish in the $40 million range at 3,963 locations but box office trackers have been projecting in recent days that the action-comedy would take in between $45 million and $50 million. It’s opening day on Friday is projected to hit about $18 million, topping “Pets” by about $3 million.
“Ghostbusters,” is coming into the market with massive awareness among moviegoers, thanks to good will from the iconic 1984 original plus a massive marketing campaign for the reboot. Reviews have been mostly positive with a 73% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The new film stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones in the roles originated by Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. It’s battling the perception that it’s not as funny as the original, with male fanboys reacting negatively for many months, noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
“It’s interesting that in a world loaded with re-boots, remakes and sequels that the release of this particular title has generated ‘tempest in a teapot’ level controversy,” he said. “Much discussion has been devoted to the use of an all female cast in the lead roles made famous by Akroyd, Murray and co. as representing some sort of watershed and defining moment in film when clearly it’s a more pragmatic result of director Paul Feig’s innate ability to work comedy magic with female stars on film.”
“At the end of the day, audiences wanting to see something new and yet familiar in the theater this weekend will check out the new ‘Ghostbusters’ and no matter how much it makes or where it lands on the chart at least people are talking about the movies,” Dergarabedian added. “Meanwhile, ‘Pets’ will keep fetching huge numbers as it continues to win over a massive pet loving audience
Online ticketing service Fandango reported Wednesday that “Ghostbusters” was its top pre-selling live-action comedy of the year, outpacing “Central Intelligence” and “Ride Along 2” — both which opened at over $35 million as the biggest live-action comedy launches of 2016.
“Ghostbusters” launched in Thursday night previews with $3.4 million. It’s directed by Paul Feig, who has teamed with McCarthy on three hits in a row with “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and “Spy” — all which showed strong holding power following their opening weekends.
With a hefty $144 million price tag, “Ghostbusters” will need a need a similar performance to be profitable — and generate significant grosses overseas. “Ghostbusters” opens internationally in the English language territories of the U.K. and Australia as well as Brazil and a handful of other smaller markets.
As with the original, the movie is set in Manhattan being beset by an invasion of ghosts. Ivan Reitman, who directed the original film, produced with Amy Pascal.
“The Secret Life of Pets” blew away forecasts last weekend with a $104.4 million U.S. opening, breaking the record by “Inside Out” for best launch of an original animated title. “Pets” is already the seventh-highest domestic grosser of the year and will likely wind up at over $300 million by the end of its run.
The only other domestic opener is Broad Green’s “The Infiltrator,” starring Bryan Cranston as a federal agent battling Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel and opening at about 1,600 locations. The thriller opened Wednesday with a moderate $773,761 and will wind up the weekend with about $6 million.
Disney-Pixar’s fifth weekend of “Finding Dory” should finish third with about $11 million, edging Warner’s third weekend of “The Legend of Tarzan” and Fox’s second weekend of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” “Dory” will have grossed about $445 million domestically by the end of the weekend.