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Box Office: Can ‘Alien: Covenant’ Unseat ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ From No. 1?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has soared past its competition for the past two weekends. But will Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” be the film to upset the trend?

It appears so, according to early estimates which project Fox’s “Prometheus” sequel will make anywhere from $40 million to $45 million during its opening weekend. The studio is projecting earnings on the low end of the range. “Prometheus” made $51 million when it opened in June 2012 in the second slot behind “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”

Which is to say the squirm-inducing franchise appears to remain sentient nearly 40 years after “Alien” shocked theater-goers in 1979. This latest R-rated horror extravaganza hails from 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Productions, and stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride. The project centers on the crew of the colony ship Covenant who are confronted by life-threatening alien life-forms — and, yes, there will be blood. This, the sixth installment in the Alien franchise (excluding the two Alien vs. Predator films), has been generally celebrated by critics, who are responsible for its 77% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fox is also opening “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” this weekend which, it’s safe to say, targets a difference audience than “Alien.” The fourth live-action movie based on Jeff Kinney’s middle school-centric book series is expecting a $10 million haul. The first three installments opened annually in succession between 2010 and 2012, each grossing slightly less than the last, and earning an average of $55 million domestically. David Bowers, who directed movies two and three, returns to the helm, anointing a new titular wimp in Jason Drucker (Zachary Gordon, it seems, has aged out).

“Wimpy Kid” is up against “Everything, Everything,” from Warner Bros. and MGM, which appears to be a wild card, as it targets $8 million-$10 million during its opening weekend. Based on the eponymous YA novel by Nicola Yoon, the movie falls into the sick-lit sub-genre of young adult entertainment that catapulted “The Fault in Our Stars” to over $300 million worldwide in 2014, but left “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” with a paltry $9 million total the following year. “Everything, Everything” stars “Hunger Games” standout Amandla Stenberg as a girl with an autoimmune disease that keeps her locked up indoors. Nick Robinson plays her Romeo, in this case named Olly.

Although Disney’s “Guardians” sequel has already posted over $600 million worldwide, the utter failure that was “King Arthur’s” performance last weekend has left the summer box office seeking a jolt. If projections for “Alien” pan out, and “Guardians” sees the usual 50% drop in sales from last week’s domestic earnings of $65 million, expect to bear witness to a new box office leader.

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