The rebooted “Ghostbusters” is launching with a respectable $46.5 million opening weekend at 3,963 locations, trailing “The Secret Life of Pets” for the top spot at the U.S. box office, Saturday estimates showed.
Illumination-Universal’s hit “The Secret Life of Pets” should win the weekend with $50 million at 4,381 sites, declining only 52% from its opening. The animated comedy’s 10-day total will hit $202 million by the end of Sunday.
Sony-Village Roadshow’s “Ghostbusters,” starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, is on its way to posting the best debut weekend for a live-action comedy since “Pitch Perfect 2” opened with $69 million last year. Sony’s recent estimates had been in the $38 million to $40 million range while rivals had forecasted correctly that it would take in between $45 million and $50 million.
“Ghostbusters” topped “Pets” on its opening day on Friday with $17.2 million, while “Pets” took in $15 million on its eighth day. “Pets” should more than make up the difference on Saturday and Sunday.
“Ghostbusters,” directed by Paul Feig, received a decent B+ Cinemascore from its audience with under 25 moviegoers giving the film an A-. Sony noted that it represented the biggest live-action opening since Fox’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” two months ago and the second-highest live-action non-superhero film of the year behind Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”
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“Ghostbusters” also has had to overcome the perception — particularly among male fans — that it would not be as humorous as the 1984 original. That film, starring Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, was a smash hit with a massive $229 million domestic total.
First tracking last month had shown that the opening weekend for the new “Ghostbusters” could be well under $40 million but a massive marketing campaign and solid reviews gave it some needed momentum. The film has a current 73% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s also facing a tricky road to being profitable, given its hefty $144 million price tag. “Ghostbusters” will need to maintain solid performance in the coming weeks to wind up in the black — 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.
The three previous teamings of McCarthy and Feig — “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and “Spy” — all generated strong performances following their opening weekends. Three new titles open next weekend: Paramount’s “Star Trek Beyond,” Fox’s “Ice Age: Collision Course” and New Line’s horror-thriller “Lights Out.”
As with the original, “Ghostbusters” 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.
Broad Green’s “The Infiltrator” starring Bryan Cranston as a federal agent battling Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel, opened on Wednesday at 1,600 locations and will wind up the weekend with about $6 million in its first five days.
Disney-Pixar’s fifth weekend of “Finding Dory” and Warner’s third weekend of “The Legend of Tarzan” are battling for third with about $11 million each, followed by Fox’s second weekend of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” with $7.3 million. “Dory” will have grossed over $445 million domestically by the end of the weekend.
Lionsgate’s platform launch of Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” generated $114,500 at five sites on Friday, projecting to a a strong weekend of around $325,000. The period comedy, which opened the Cannes Film Festival, has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78%.