Alicia Vikander’s “Tomb Raider” ran off with $2.1 million on Thursday night.
Fox’s comedy-drama “Love, Simon,” meanwhile, made $850,000 from 2,125 sites during Thursday previews. It’s expanding to 2,402 venues on Friday.
The “Tomb Raider” preview number is significantly higher than the $1.5 million for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” which went on to open with $24.5 million during Jan. 26 to Jan. 28.
“Tomb Raider,” Warner Bros. and MGM’s adaptation of the popular video game, has been projected to take in about $25 million from 3,842 locations this weekend. That will challenge the fifth frame of Disney-Marvel’s mega-hit “Black Panther,” which will likely finish in the same territory domestically.
Vikander stars as archaeologist Lara Croft, who embarks on a journey to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance. Based on the 2013 game, the film is directed by Roar Uthaug and written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, from a story by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dworet. The cast also includes Dominic West, Walton Goggins, and Daniel Wu.
Reviewers have been split for “Tomb Raider,” which has a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Tomb Raider” video game franchise has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. In 2001 and 2003, Paramount’s “Tomb Raider” films starring Angelina Jolie grossed a combined $432 million worldwide.
“Black Panther” declined only 38% in its fourth weekend so a similar drop would place it around $25 million — which would be the fifth-biggest fifth weekend of all time. If “Black Panther” wins, it will become the first film to hold the No. 1 spot for at least five weekends since “Avatar,” which led for seven weeks in 2009 and 2010. It’s already grossed $574.7 million domestically in its first 27 days.
“Love, Simon” has been projected to gross approximately $10 million to $12 million in its debut. The film, adapted from the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” stars Nick Robinson as a closeted gay teenager in high school who begins communicating online with an anonymous fellow-closeted classmate. When the email exchange is uncovered by a blackmailer who threatens to out Simon to the entire school, Simon must balance his friends, family, and the blackmailer, while also attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate.
The film — also starring Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford, and Alexandra Shipp — has been praised for being the first major studio film to center around a gay teen romance. It’s earned an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate’s faith-based “I Can Only Imagine” generated a solid $1.1 million in previews through Thursday night at 1,392 locations. The movie, which also has booked another $200,000 in pre-sales, will play this weekend at 1,628 locations.
Although “Black Panther” has lifted the domestic box office by 5.5% to $2.35 billion, this weekend will fall short of last year’s session, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
“Despite much speculation as to whether ‘Black Panther’ can go five for five with ‘Tomb Raider,’ ‘Love, Simon,’ and ‘I Can Only Imagine’ entering the marketplace, one thing we know for certain is that this weekend’s overall take will look modest by comparison to the same weekend a year ago when ‘Beauty and The Beast’ posted a $174.75 million record-breaking March debut that powered the second-highest grossing industry weekend of 2017, with a massive $261.8 million haul,” he said.