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Box Office: ‘Crawl’ Slithers to $1 Million on Thursday Night

Parmount’s alligator disaster movie “Crawl” has opened with a solid $1 million in Thursday night previews in North America while Fox’s buddy comedy “Stuber” took in $750,000 on Thursday.

The two newcomers are both expected to finish far behind Sony’s second weekend of “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which is pegged to take in between $35 million and $45 million. Tom Holland’s superhero adventure, the 23rd entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has earned $220 million in its first nine days in North American theaters. Overseas, the movie has generated $392 million for a global tally of $613 million.

Disney’s fourth frame of “Toy Story 4” should take second place in the $20 million to $25 million range this weekend. The newest entry in the 24-year-old animated comedy franchise has generated $320 million in its first 20 days in North America.

Crawl” is likely to finish third with around $10 million when it launches in 3,170 venues. It’s also debuting in 20 foreign markets. The R-rated horror film follows a father and daughter (played by Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario) who are forced to escape a relentless attack from a pack of alligators after a Category 5 hurricane hits their Florida town.

“Crawl” has generated mostly positive reviews, scoring an 88% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Alexandre Aja directed from a script by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. “Crawl,” which carries a modest $13 million budget, is produced by Craig Flores, Sam Raimi and Aja.

Stuber,” which was produced by Fox, is being distributed through Disney and is its first R-rated release since 2013. It centers on Kumail Nanjiani’s Uber driver unwittingly becoming part of an arrest operation with Dave Bautista portraying an aggressive LAPD officer. Forecasts have pegged the film for a range between $7 million and $10 million when it opens in 3,050 locations. Directed by Michael Dowse from a script by Tripper Clancy, “Stuber” also stars Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino and Karen Gillan.

Fox began developing “Stuber” in 2016 with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley producing. It premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival, shortly before Disney closed its acquisition of the Fox film assets. The movie has received mixed reviews with a current 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his SXSW review, Variety’s Peter Debruge praised the performances of the leads: “The deliciously antagonistic chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani — who come across as more likely to murder each other than to die at the hands of heavily armed drug dealers — fuels this breakneck buddy movie.”

The weekend arrives with the year-to-date North American box office continuing to lag as it reached $6.05 billion as of July 10, down 8.7% from the 2018 pace, according to Comscore. Summer has also trailed, sliding 4.7% to $2.57 billion in the wake of disappointments from several major titles including “Men In Black: International” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Disney’s “The Lion King” is widely expected to jolt domestic business next weekend with as much as $150 million.

“As the summer season of 2019 continues its second half, the industry looks to a diverse weekend slate to jump-start the momentum that has been tough to maintain throughout what has been a confounding summer season that will likely keep observers scratching their heads in the weeks to come,” said Paul Dergaradian, senior media analyst with Comscore.

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