Animated adventure film “Abominable” is heading for a moderate but dominant $18 million opening weekend at 4,242 North American sites, early estimates showed on Friday.
The second weekend of Focus Features’ “Downton Abbey” is leading the rest of the pack with about $14 million, which will give the big-screen version of the British TV drama around $58 million in its first 10 days. A trio of holdovers are battling for third place in the $9 million to $11 million range: STX’s third weekend of “Hustlers,” Disney-Fox’s second frame of Brad Pitt’s “Ad Astra” and Warner Bros.’ fourth session of horror sequel “It: Chapter Two,” which will finish the weekend with about $192 million domestically in its first 24 days.
“Abominable,” produced by Universal’s DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studios, is coming at the middle of the range of pre-release forecasts. The film centers on the relationship between a modern Chinese teenager and a Yeti named Everest as they embark on an epic journey to reunite with his family in the Himalayas. The U.S. voice cast includes Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin and Michelle Wong.
Jill Culton wrote and directed “Abominable,” and is the first woman to independently make an animated movie for a major studio. The film carries a $75 million budget. Critical reception has been positive, earning the movie a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Universal is also releasing the film this weekend in 27 international markets, including Brazil, Mexico and Germany. Pearl Studios will distribute “Abominable” in China.
“Hustlers” continues to perform well and should finish the weekend with a 17-day domestic total of nearly $80 million — making it STX’s best performer since Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart’s “The Upside” became a surprise hit earlier this year. The studio’s other recent releases, including “The Best of Enemies,” “UglyDolls” and “Poms,” have disappointed at the box office.
Based on Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine story “The Hustlers at Scores,” “Hustlers” follows a group of strippers who orchestrates a plan to get back at the affluent Wall Street clients who have wronged them. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Cardi B and Lizzo, the movie premiered on Sept. 7 at the Toronto Film Festival amid strong reviews. It boasts a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 88%. Lorene Scafaria directed and wrote the true story, which carries a $20 million price tag and is earning Lopez Oscar buzz for her role as ringleader Ramona.