Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” scared up $4.2 million domestically in Thursday night preview screenings.
The “Alien: Covenant” preview number is similar to Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which opened on the same weekend in 2015 with $3.7 million on Thursday night on its way to a $45.4 million weekend. “Alien” held screenings at about 3,000 in North America.
Recent estimates have projected Fox’s R-rated horror-thriller to launch in the $40 million to $45 million range at 3,760 sites. That’s probably enough to deny Marvel-Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a third consecutive victory as it heads for a weekend in the $35 million range. The Marvel-Disney sequel, still playing at 4,347 locations, has already taken in more that $265 million domestically in its first two weeks. It’s the second-biggest domestic grosser of 2017 and is nearing $650 million worldwide.
“Alien: Covenant” was produced by Scott through his Scott Free Productions, and stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride. The movie, which takes place a decade after the events in “Prometheus,” centers on the crew of the colony ship Covenant landing on an uncharted planet before coming under attack.
The studio is projecting an opening weekend below that of “Prometheus,” which grossed $51 million when it launched on June 8-10, 2012. Scott also directed “Prometheus” and 1979’s original “Alien,” starring Sigourney Weaver.
Critics have shown affection for “Alien: Covenant,” helping it earn a 74% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote in his review: “‘Alien: Covenant’ is, if nothing else, a return to form for both Scott and the series: a hard-R horror movie, featuring ferocious, acid-dripping space crustaceans, a tough female lead, and a bunch of dead-meat crew members.”
“Alien: Covenant” opened internationally with a solid $42 million in 34 markets last weekend. It will add another 54 foreign markets this weekend.
Fox is also opening “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” at 3,157 locations this weekend for the family audience amid expectations of a $10 million launch. The comedy took in a quiet $150,000 in Thursday night previews at about 2,000 locations.
It’s the fourth live-action movie based on Jeff Kinney’s series of books about middle schooler Greg Heffley and the first since 2012’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” which grossed $49 million domestically. Critics have been unimpressed, resulting in a 28% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. David Bower returns to direct the film about a family vacation gone awry. It stars Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, and Tom Everett.
Warner Bros. and MGM’s teen romance “Everything, Everything” launched with $525,000 in Thursday night previews. “Everything, Everything” carries moderate expectations in the $8 million-$10 million range at 2,850 North American sites. Based on the YA novel by Nicola Yoon, the movie stars “Hunger Games” standout Amandla Stenberg as a girl with an autoimmune disease that keeps her locked up indoors. Nick Robinson co-stars as the new neighbor who falls for her and Anika Noni Rose plays her mother. Reviews have been mixed, earning the film a 45% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.