Martial-arts actioner “Birth of the Dragon” has opened with a moderate $200,000 at 1,350 North American locations on Thursday night.
Sony’s faith-based drama “All Saints” launched softly with $70,000 during preview screenings at 773 sites in what’s expected to be a mild weekend at the box office. Preview numbers for The Weinstein Company’s “Leap!” were not immediately available, but the animated comedy is also opening amid muted expectations of about $5 million at 2,575 locations for the weekend.
The second weekend of Liosngate’s “Hitman’s Bodyguard” has been forecast to win the weekend again with about $10 million, followed by the third frame of New Line’s “Annabelle: Creation” at around $7 million. Overall business is expected to be one of the slowest within memory due to marginal buzz for the new releases. Saturday night’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is also expected to hold down moviegoing.
The weekend will cap what’s been a deeply disappointing summer for the movie business. As of Aug. 23, the summer domestic box office was off 13.4% to $3.63 billion, pushing down the year-to-date total by 5.4% to 7.38 billion, according to senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian of comScore.
“As the industry moves in slow motion toward the summer finish line, a month of August that is running a mind-blowing 34% behind the same period last year will suffer yet another crushing blow that may see the top film earning a mere $10 million or so,” he noted. “A knockout punch by the Mayweather-McGregor fight on Saturday night will only add insult to injury.”
“Leap!” has already picked up $58 million from foreign markets under the title “Ballerina.” The musical follows an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and includes Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nat Wolff, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks.
“Birth of the Dragon” expands to 1,617 locations on Friday, and is expected to pull in between $3 million and $5 million over the weekend for BH Tilt. The movie, starring Philip Ng, is a fictionalized account of the 1965 fight between Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man. The pic premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“All Saints,” from Affirm Films and Provident Films, expands to 846 locations on Friday. Based on a true story, John Corbett stars as a salesman-turned-pastor who tries to save his church with the help of a group of Southeast Asian refugees. Steve Gomer directed from a script by Steve Armour.
“Hitman’s Bodyguard” opened last weekend to $21.4 million. It could join the ranks of movies — including 2015’s “War Room” and 2012’s “The Possession” — that took first place while making less than $10 million.