John Cho’s thriller “Searching” found $425,000 at 1,119 North American locations on Thursday night.
The preview showings began at 5 p.m.
Lionsgate’s science-fiction actioner “Kin,” meanwhile, grossed $250,000 at 1,800 sites in preview screenings.
Sony is expanding “Searching” to 1,207 sites at the start of the holiday weekend after taking in $483,978 at nine locations in its first six days. Cho portrays a father trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter with the aid of a detective, played by Debra Messing.
The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, has been embraced by critics and carries a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sony is projecting a modest $3 million take for the weekend.
“Kin,” which is expanding to 2,141 locations on Friday, stars Jack Reynor, Myles Truitt, Zoe Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid, and James Franco. The film centers on Reynor (who plays a recently paroled ex-con) and his adopted teenage brother, who are forced to go on the run when they find a strange weapon. Reviews have been largely negative, with a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
MGM’s crime drama “Operation Finale” opened on Wednesday with $1 million at 1,818 locations and earned another $726,000 on Thursday. It has been pegged to take in around $10 million over the six days through Labor Day on Monday. Set after World War II, “Operation Finale” follows Israeli Mossad agents who track down SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), one of the chief architects of the Holocaust. Oscar Isaac stars as a Mossad agent, while Lior Raz, Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll, and Joe Alwyn round out the cast.
“Crazy Rich Asians” should three-peat at the domestic box office through Labor Day Weekend with $20 million more. It pocketed $2.6 million on Wednesday, its 15th day of release, and has generated $86 million in North America.
Heading into the final weekend of summer, the season’s box office is up 13.9% over last year’s total to $4.26 billion, according to comScore. As of Aug. 29, overall North American box office had gained 9.4% to $8.21 billion. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said the all-time domestic record of $11.37 billion in 2016 could be topped this year.
“As one of the most interesting and notable summer seasons enters its final weekend with a ton of momentum and a 14% advantage over last year, the industry ponders the possibility of a record breaking box office year with the pressure now on for a slate of compelling fall and holiday films to get the job done by enticing a large number of enthusiastic patrons to the multiplex,” he added.