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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Tops ‘Black Panther’ at Friday Box Office; Weekend Race Close

Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” looks to be dominating Marvel’s “Black Panther” at Friday’s box office, with “Wrinkle” at approximately $13 million and “Panther,” in its fourth weekend, heading for a Friday total upwards of $9 million.

That said, it’s anyone’s guess for the top spot at the weekend box office. As the two Disney titles face off against each other, Ava DuVernay’s “Wrinkle in Time” is projecting a $37 million opening for the three-day period, while Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” is estimating between $36 million-$39 million.

The latest tracking for “Wrinkle in Time” aligns more closely with initial numbers, which showed a range of $34 million to $37 million. Now, the fantasy adventure could land a weekend total up to $41 million.

With a varied critical response, “Wrinkle In Time” is struggling to attract the crowds necessary to make a profit on its budget exceeding $100 million. The film grossed $1.3 million during Thursday night previews, though because it’s a family film, its target audience is more likely to turn out on the weekend when school is out.

“A solid first day performance for ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ is good news with the film, having earned mixed reviews, clearly benefiting from a loyal fanbase who are excited to see the film,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore said.

“A Wrinkle in Time” — adapted from Madeleine L’Engle’s classic fantasy novel — follows a group of children as they travel through time and space to find their missing father. Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling and Gugu Mbatha-Raw make up the ensemble cast.

A $37 million-plus weekend for “Black Panther” would nab the third-highest fourth weekend of all time from “The Avengers” with $36.7 million. “Avatar” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” currently hold the one and two spots, with $50.3 million and $42.4 million respectively. A 44% drop for the tentpole’s fourth weekend would be on par with its third weekend decline of 41%.

Aviron Pictures’ “The Strangers: Prey at Night,” the horror sequel to 2008’s “The Strangers,” is looking at a $3.8 million Friday opening. It took in $610,000 in Thursday night previews, which would bring its weekend total between $9 and $12 million. Set in a secluded mobile home park, “Prey at Night” was directed by Johannes Roberts and stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

Jennifer Lawrence’s “Red Sparrow” grossed $2.5 million on Friday. A $8.5 million weekend total would result in a 50% drop for the spy thriller. Lawrence, who reunited with “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence for “Red Sparrow,” plays a Russian ballerina who’s recruited into a spy agency after suffering a career-ending injury, and facing a bleak and uncertain future.

Amazon Studios and STX Films’ “Gringo” is aiming for a weekend opening in the $2.5 to $4.5 million range, with approximately $1.2 million on Friday. The action comedy features David Oyelowo as a businessman who works for a company that has developed the “weed pill.” He is sent to Mexico to handle the manufacturing of the product, but while out partying, ends up getting kidnapped by a drug cartel. Directed by Nash Edgerton, the film also stars Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, and Thandie Newton.

That leaves Entertainment Studios’ “The Hurricane Heist” aiming between $500,000 and $1 million on Friday night, with a weekend total ranging from $1.5 to $3.5 million. That’s a drastic drop from initial assessments, which estimated around $7 million from a $35 million budget. Directed by Rob Cohen, the bank robbery thriller follows a band of tech hackers who plan to use a Category 5 hurricane to cover their tracks as they execute a $600 million bank heist. The cast includes Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, and Ralph Ineson.

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