Lionsgate has big ambitions for “Power Rangers,” its reboot of the popular 1990’s television show about a group of teenage warriors. A year before the movie even hit theaters, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer predicted that there could be as many as seven Mighty Morphin’ adventures, and producer Haim Saban recently said that the filmmakers have a “six story arc” all sketched out for the youthful heroes.
Now, all the movie has to do is be a hit, preferably of the blockbuster variety. This weekend, Lionsgate will find out if it picked the right slice of nostalgia to dust off. “Power Rangers” will open across 3,693 North American locations, where it is expected to pull in more than $30 million. That’s a respectable result, but given its $100 million budget and the millions spent on hawking and distributing the film, “Power Rangers” will have to be a big hit globally in order to justify more sequels.
In the film, the rangers band together to save the world from an alien threat. It’s unclear what extraterrestrial menace they’ll be facing, but it’s unlikely to be as daunting as a certain Disney phenomenon currently packing in crowds. A week after setting records with its $175 million opening, “Beauty and the Beast” should easily top the box office, adding another $90 million to its haul. The romantic fantasy has already racked up $428.5 million.
“Power Rangers” isn’t the only new release trying to hold its own against Belle and her hirsute paramour. Sony and Skydance will debut “Life,” a science-fiction thriller about a team of scientists who have a close encounter of the third kind in the far reaches of space. This one should end with a lot more blood than the Spielberg film. Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) directs “Life,” with a cast that includes Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ryan Reynolds. The $58 million production has solid reviews, but hasn’t caught on with moviegoers yet. It’s tracking to open to roughly $15 million, a weak result given its budget.
That’s better than “CHiPs,” a bro-y comedy about highway patrolmen that is heading towards a quiet $8 million launch. The Warner Bros. film tries to put a fresh spin on the 1970’s television show — amping up the raunch and the vehicular collisions. Dax Shepard wrote, directs, and stars in the film alongside Michael Peña. The best thing “CHiPs” has going for it is that it only cost $25 million to make.