Universal’s “The First Purge” has opened with a solid $2.5 million at 2,350 North American locations on Tuesday night.
“The First Purge,” Blumhouse’s fourth installment in the horror franchise, expands to 3,031 theaters on Independence Day with forecasts for a $25 million launch in its first five days. It has a two-day head start on Disney-Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” pegged for an impressive debut of $70 million to $80 million for Friday-Sunday with previews launching Thursday night.
Two years ago, “The Purge: Election Year” took in $3.6 million in Thursday-night previews prior to its Friday opening.
“The First Purge” is an origin story set in a dystopian America, in which the New Founding Fathers of America decide to make all crime legal for 12 hours — resulting in violence exploding across the nation. The film stars Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, and Marisa Tomei.
The prequel is written and produced by James DeMonaco, who directed the first three “Purge” movies. Gerard McMurray is the helmer with Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Jason Blum, Bradley Fuller, and Sebastien Lemercier also producing.
The low-cost movies began with “The Purge” in 2013, followed by “The Purge: Anarchy” in 2014 and “The Purge: Election Year” in 2016. The third film opened with $31.5 million on the first weekend of July two years ago on its way to $79 million in North America and $118.5 million worldwide.
“The Purge” has earned $320 million globally. Universal is handling the international rollout, which opens day-and-date with the U.S. in 27 overseas territories.
Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” will finish second to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” over the Friday-Sunday weekend. The dinosaur tentpole led the domestic box officer last weekend with $60.9 million and has delivered $274 million domestically in its first 11 days through July 2. International grosses have hit $669 million.
The fourth weekend of Disney-Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” will also remain a strong draw. The animated sequel had topped $448 million in North America through July 2 along with $208 million internationally with many offshore markets not yet open.
The domestic box office posted a record $3.33 billion gross in the second quarter, thanks to blockbuster performances by “Avengers: Infinity War,” Incredibles 2,” and “Deadpool 2.” The previous mark was set in the second quarter of 2015, when “Jurassic World,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Inside Out” led the way to a $3.2 billion quarter.
The month of June finished 20.1% ahead of last year with an estimated record $1.27 billion. May finished 24% ahead of last year, and a record April was 26% ahead of last year.