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Box Office: ‘Baby Driver’ Gets a $5.7 Million Head Start

Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” has driven to a respectable $5.7 million at 3,226 North American locations on its first day on Wednesday.

Sony’s R-rated action-thriller, starring Ansel Elgort as a getaway car driver, has gotten a head start on the Independence Day weekend before “Despicable Me 3” and “The House” open on Friday. The studio is projecting an opening in the $15 million range for the five-day Wednesday-Sunday period, while other pre-release forecasts have been in the $20 million area.

The opening day number includes $2.1 million from Tuesday night previews.The film received an A CinemaScore from audiences under 25 and an A- overall.

Baby Driver,” released from Sony’s TriStar Pictures and MRC, has received strong critical support since its South by Southwest premiere in March and has a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In a sign of confidence, Sony announced at CinemaCon in March that it had moved the release up by six weeks from Aug. 11 with Wright telling exhibitors that he had designed the film to play “loud and large.”

Elgort portrays a talented driver named Baby who’s coerced into working for a crew of bank robbers headed by Kevin Spacey’s character. He decides to leave that life behind when he falls for a waitress, played by Lily James. Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx also star.

Music has a major role in the movie since Elgort’s character relies on it to block out permanent tinnitus.

The “Baby Driver” budget is $34 million after rebates. Producers are Nira Park through her Big Talk Pictures, and Working Title principals Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan.

The holiday weekend will be dominated by the Minions as Illumination-Universal’s animated “Despicable Me 3” opens Friday at 4,529 locations amid studio expectations in the $85 million range.

New Line is also launching the R-rated comedy “The House,” starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, at about 3,000 venues on Friday. The studio is forecasting an opening in the $12 million-$14 million range. Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing.

Paramount’s second weekend of “Transformers: The Last Knight” and Warner Bros.’ fifth frame of “Wonder Woman” will also be contending for second place. “Wonder Woman” took in $2.8 million on Wednesday to hit $328 million in total domestic grosses after 27 days.

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