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Box Office: Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Life of the Party’ Tops ‘Breaking In’ on Thursday Night

Melissa McCarthy’s comedy “Life of the Party” has launched with a moderate $700,000 at 2,900 North American locations on Thursday night.

Gabrielle Union’s thriller “Breaking In” was close behind, opening with $615,000 at 2,150 sites in previews that began on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The “Life of the Party” preview number is similar to the Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn comedy “Snatched,” which took in $650,000 on Thursday night and went on to gross $19.5 million in its opening weekend on the same frame a year ago. “Life of the Party,” released by Warner Bros.’ New Line division, is a PG-13 title that’s aimed at getting mothers and daughters to attend during the Mothers Day weekend

The two new entries are expected to finish well behind Disney-Marvel’s powerhouse “Avengers: Infinity War,” which is forecast to earn at least $50 million in its third weekend. As of Wednesday, “Infinity War” has made $479 million domestically and $772 million internationally, and will see a massive boost when it bows in China this weekend. Friday’s first-day numbers in China were about $76 million.

Avengers: Infinity War” set the all-time record for its domestic opening weekend with $257.7 million, then fell 56% to $114.8 million. A similar decline would give the superhero tentpole about $60 million this weekend. Only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avatar” and “Black Panther” finished above that mark in their third weekends.

“Life of the Party” is pegged for a debut between $18 million and $21 million from 3,656 locations. McCarthy plays a mother who joins her daughter (Molly Gordon) in college after getting divorced. McCarthy’s spouse, Ben Falcone, directed from a script he co-wrote with McCarthy. Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, and Matt Walsh round out the cast.

“Life of the Party” marks the third collaboration between McCarthy and Falcone. His 2014 directorial debut, “Tammy,” opened with $21.5 million on its way to $84.5 million at the domestic box office. Falcone also helmed McCarthy’s “The Boss,” which launched with $23.5 million before earning $63 million in North America.

“Life of the Party” touches similar turf as Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School,” which was a major hit in 1986 with an $8.9 million opening weekend and a $91 million domestic total.

Breaking In,” directed by James McTeigue, should bow with $14 million to $17 million in 2,537 venues. Union portrays a single mother who has to protect her two children (played by Seth Carr and Ajiona Alexus) after the Malibu mansion of her recently deceased father is invaded by burglars.

McTeigue directed from Ryan Engle’s script. Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden, Jason George, and Christa Miller also star. Will Packer produced along with Union, Will Packer Productions’ James Lopez, and Practical Pictures’ Craig Perry and Sheila Hanahan Taylor.

Thanks largely to “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” overall domestic box office is up 4% to $4.16 billion as of May 9, according to comScore.

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