Fox’s detective drama “Murder on the Orient Express” launched with a solid $1.6 million, edging out “Daddy’s Home 2,” on Thursday night.
The preview gross is on par with 2016’s “Arrival” with $1.5 million and “The Girl on the Train” with $1.2 million.
Paramount’s family comedy “Daddy’s Home 2,” meanwhile, earned $1.5 million from Thursday night showings. Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” is expected to maintain North American box office supremacy this weekend. The third Thor movie should take in at least $50 million at 4,080 locations in its second frame.
“Thor: Ragnarok” opened with $122.7 million last weekend in the fourth-biggest launch of 2017, then added $8.2 million on Monday, $10.8 million on Tuesday, and $6.1 million on Wednesday.
Both new entries are expected to debut moderately in the $25 million range. “Murder” is opening on 3,341 screens, with fairly positive reviews (earning the film a 65% Rotten Tomatoes score). Kenneth Branagh directed and stars as Hercule Poirot in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery. The star-laden cast includes Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, “Hamilton’s” Leslie Odom Jr., and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actress Daisy Ridley.
“Murder on the Orient Express,” set in the 1930s in Central Europe, was adapted by Michael Green and carries a $55 million budget.
“Daddy’s Home 2” will be released at 3,575 locations with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell reprising their roles as fathers co-parenting the children of Wahlberg’s character. The story is set during the holiday season with the arrival of Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as their respective fathers. Reviews have been dismal, with a 7% Rotten Tomatoes score.
The original “Daddy’s Home” launched a week after the release of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and delivered solid results with a $38 million opening weekend domestically on its way to $242.7 million worldwide.
The staying power of all three titles will be tested next weekend with Warner Bros.’ launch of the much anticipated “Justice League,” which carried initial forecasts of an opening of at least $110 million.