Action-thriller “Hunter Killer” captured a moderate $420,000 at 2,200 North American locations on Thursday night.
The Lionsgate title, starring Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, and Common, should collect between $5 million and $9 million this weekend when it launches at 2,720 sites. “Hunter Killer,” based on the novel “Firing Point,” follows a group of Navy SEALs deep in the Arctic Ocean on a mission to rescue the captured Russian president.
“Hunter Killer” is expected to be dwarfed by the second weekend of “Halloween,” which is on track for $30 million to $40 million. The fourth weekends of Tom Hardy’s “Venom” and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” will also pull in between $10 million and $15 million each.
“Hunter Killer,” directed by Donovan Marsh from a script by Arne Schmidt and Jamie Moss, looks likely to be battling for fourth place with Sony holdover “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.”
The preview opening for “Hunter Killer” is similar to 2011’s “The Mechanic,” which took in $390,000 on Thursday night on its way to an $11 million opening weekend and $29 million domestic total.
“Hunter Killer” is the only wide release during the pre-Halloween weekend. Universal is launching spy spoof “Johnny English Strikes Again” at 544 screens amid expectations of $2 million. The third installment in the Rowan Atkinson series debuted earlier this month overseas and has pulled in $97 million.
Pure Flix’s faith-based war drama “Indivisible” is eyeing around $3 million at 844 venues. Directed by David G. Evans, the movie tells the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner after his deployment to Iraq.
Universal’s “Halloween,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, has blitzed the box office, grossing $91 million in its first six days. Thanks to the powerful holdover business from “Halloween,” “Venom,” and “A Star Is Born,” the weekend should lift the overall October total for North America past the previous mark of $757 million, set in 2014. Year-to-date domestic moviegoing has hit $9.58 billion, up 10.4% over last year, as of Oct. 21, according to comScore.
“Venom” has taken in $175 million in its first 20 days domestically for Sony. Awards contender “A Star Is Born” has earned $132 million for Warner Bros. in that same period.
“As 2018 continues its record-setting ways, the industry looks to keep the box office momentum rolling with ‘Hunter Killer’ diving into the mix with a scarily strong second weekend of ‘Halloween,’ a harmonious fourth weekend of ‘A Star Is Born,’ and a potent dose of ‘Venom’ to push the 10% year-to-date advantage even higher while trying to lock up the biggest month of October ever at the multiplex,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.