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Box Office: ‘The Meg’ to Chomp on Competition With $32 Million

Shark thriller “The Meg” will take a bite out of the North American box office with about $32 million in its opening weekend at 4,188 locations, early estimates showed Friday.

The Meg,” starring Jason Statham and a 75-foot prehistoric shark, is over-performing forecasts, which had been pegged in the $20 million to $22 million range. The movie — which has been in development for two decades — generated a solid $4 million in Thursday night previews, double what “Skyscraper” took last month on its way to a $24 million opening weekend.

Paramount’s third weekend of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is declining about 57% to the $17 million range to finish second. Disney’s second weekend of “Christopher Robin” and the launch of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” will be battling for third in the $11 million to $13 million range, followed by Sony’s debut of horror movie “Slender Man” with about $10 million.

“The Meg,” directed by Jon Turteltaub, is based on Steve Alten’s 1997 book “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror.” The story follows efforts by scientists, played by Statham, Li Bingbing, Winston Chao, and Ruby Rose, to stop a Megalodon shark from terrorizing a beach in China.

“The Meg” is a co-production with China’s Gravity and carries a $150 million price tag, meaning that the studio is counting on substantial overseas business. The movie is also opening in China, Russia, Spain, and the U.K. this weekend. “The Meg” opened with an estimated $15 million in China on Friday, giving it third place behind two local comedies. It has received mixed reviews from critics and carries a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Focus Features’ “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, is opening on the first anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville rally. Forecasts had pegged it for an opening in the $8 million to $10 million range at 1,512 sites. Reviews have been exceptionally strong, giving it a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington, stars in “BlacKkKlansman,” which tells the true story of black detective Ron Stallworth going undercover with the help of a Jewish cop (played by Adam Driver) to infiltrate the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Slender Man” is launching at 2,358 North American venues with forecasts ranging from $8 million to $16 million. Sylvain White directed the supernatural story based on the internet legend of the boogeyman-like creature who traumatizes children. “Slender Man” stars Joey King, Jaz Sinclair, and Julia Goldani Telles. Critics have panned the movie, which carries an 11% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

LD Entertainment launched the romantic comedy “Dog Days” on Wednesday with a quiet $635,164 at 2,225 sites amid modest expectations with about $4 million by the end of the weekend. The film, which centers on the lives of dog owners in Los Angeles, stars Eva Longoria, Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Lauren Lapkus, Thomas Lennon, Adam Pally, Ryan Hansen, Rob Corddry, Tone Bell, Jon Bass, and Finn Wolfhard.

Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” should finish the weekend with around $160 million domestically in its first 17 days. That’s about $22 million ahead of 2015’s “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” at the same point of its run, which wound up with $195 million.

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