“Crazy Rich Asians” is heading for a repeat box office victory with a dominant $21 million at 3,256 North American locations, early estimates showed on Friday.
Melissa McCarthy’s “The Happytime Murders” should open with a moderate $11 million at 3,224 venues this weekend, slightly below expectations. It’s battling the third frame of giant-shark tale “The Meg” for runner-up.
Global Road Entertainment’s robot-dog tale “A.X.L.” is launching with a dismal projection of about $2.3 million at 1,710 locations. Earlier this week, Global Road’s lenders took control of the film division after the company failed to raise enough money to pay for future productions and are now seeking to sell off assets.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is showing excellent holding power, with a decline of only 22% from its opening weekend. Should the projections hold, the romantic comedy will join “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and “Avengers: Infinity War” as summer titles with back-to-back box office wins.
“Crazy Rich Asians” has grossed more than $51 million in North America in its first nine days and Warner Bros. has already launched development of a sequel. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan. It stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh.
“Crazy Rich Asians” has been embraced by critics, earning a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. By contrast, “The Happytime Murders” has underwhelmed with a 22% “rotten” mark. STX Entertainment’s raunchy comedy had initially been forecast to debut in the $13 million to $15 million range.
“The Happytime Murders” is set in the underbelly of Los Angeles — a world where humans and puppets coexist — as McCarthy’s character, an LAPD detective, re-teams with her former puppet partner to solve a series of brutal murders. Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and chairman of the Jim Henson Company, directed the R-rated pic, which also stars Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks.
Warner’s third weekend of “The Meg” could challenge “The Happytime Murders” for second place. The prehistoric shark story will pass $100 million domestically this weekend. Paramount’s fifth frame of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is heading for fourth with about $6.5 million, pushing it past $190 million. It should edge STX’s sophomore frame of “Mile 22,” which is declining about 58% to $5.7 million.