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Box Office: ‘Boss Baby’ Dethrones ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Friday With $15.5 Million

Boss Baby” is eyeing the C-suite.

The Fox-DreamWorks animated movie bottled up $15.5 million from 3,773 locations on Friday. Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which has ruled the box office with record-breaking grosses since it hit theaters in mid-March, earned just over $13 million on Friday from 4,210 theaters.

Boss Baby’s” projected opening weekend total now stands above previous expectations at over $50 million. “Beauty” will also continue its fantastical run, and should land in the $45 to $50 million range.

Paramount’s “Ghost in the Shell,” meanwhile, is showing a comparatively meager draw. The action film starring Scarlett Johansson earned $7.7 million from 3,440 theaters on Friday and is tracking for about $20 million in its opening weekend. “Ghost in the Shell” — produced in conjunction with DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment — is counting on international ticket sales to offset production costs, which have been reported at around $110 million.

“The Boss Baby” — based loosely based on the 2010 picture book of the same name written and illustrated by Marla Frazee — features a voice cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Miles Christopher Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire. Tom McGrath directed the film about a secret agent baby who engages in a war between babies and puppies.

“Ghost in the Shell” has been embroiled in controversy over the star’s casting. The series, based on a popular Japanese manga, has been accused of “whitewashing” the lead character, part of a larger trend of casting white actors in Asian roles. The Asian American media group MANAA even went so far as to write that Johansson was “lying” when she told “Good Morning America” that she “would never attempt to play a person of a different race.”

Focus Features is opening Jessica Chastain’s “The Zookeeper’s Wife” in limited release at 541 locations this weekend. On Friday the movie earned $969,000 which puts it on track to make over $3 million and crack the top ten for the weekend.

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