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Box Office: Will ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Protect No. 1 From Newcomers?

A sluggish summer at the box office appears to have almost reached a standstill.

Last weekend, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” won the domestic box office with $21.4 million. That was a solid opening for a film without a superhero, well-known source material, or a franchise to back it up. But now, in week two, it seems the movie could retain its spot on top, even if it sees a 50% to 60% drop.

The fresh releases don’t post much of a threat, starting with “Leap!” from the Weinstein Company. The animated film, which has already picked up $58.2 million from foreign markets, is looking at an opening around $5 million from 2,500 locations. Éric Summer and Éric Warin directed the movie, titled “Ballerina” in all territories outside the U.S. It’s billed as a musical adventure comedy about an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and also includes Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nat Wolff, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks.

Meanwhile, “Birth of the Dragon” is hitting 1,500 locations, and is expected to gross between $3 million and $5 million. BH Tilt and WWE Studios co-acquired the film after its premiere at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival. The marketing campaign was inexpensive and focused on digital promotion, and targeted events, so anything higher than $3.25 million would make the distributor happy. The movie — an homage to Bruce Lee’s style of martial arts films — lends its inspiration’s name to the main character, played by Philip Ng. Set in 1960s San Francisco, Lee challenges kung fu master Wong Jack Man (Xia Yu) to an epic fight.

Sony’s “All Saints,” a faith-based movie from Affirm Films, is also opening at over 700 locations. John Corbett and Cara Buono lead the cast of the flick, directed by Steve Gomer. Steve Armour wrote the script, based on a true story, that centers on a salesman-turned-pastor and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia.

So “Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “Annabelle: Creation” will likely lead the weekend once again. If “Hitman’s Bodyguard” sees a 55% drop and manages to still top the charts, it would join the ranks of movies including 2015’s “War Room” and “The Possession” in 2012 that scored No. 1 while making less than $10 million. The lowest-grossing movie to win its weekend since 1997 was “Jerry Maguire,” which earned $5.5 million during its seventh week in theaters. 

August is typically a slow month for moviegoing, but the current situation seems especially dire during a summer that has fallen more than 13% behind last year. A savior is warranted, but seems nowhere nearby. The impending Labor Day weekend sees the release of only one film, “Tulip Fever.” Hope looms one week later in the form of a creepy clown, as “It” is already tracking to break September records.

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