“Escape Room” has opened with a respectable $2.3 million in 2,386 North American locations on Thursday in previews starting at 4 p.m.
Sony’s psychological thriller, which centers on six strangers in immersive rooms that turn out to be deadly traps, is expanding to 2,717 sites on Friday with forecasts in the $10 million range. Directed by Adam Robitel from a script by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik, “Escape Room” stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine and Nik Dodani.
The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz and Ori Marmur and carries a modest $9 million budget. “Escape Room” is the only wide opening of the weekend. Reviews have been mixed with a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Aquaman” should win the weekend handily for its third consecutive box office crown with around $25 million to $30 million at 4,125 locations. The Warner Bros. tentpole, starring Jason Momoa, has dominated the domestic market and taken in $222 million in its first two weeks in North America. “Aquaman” has hit a worldwide total of $846 million, led by $277 million in China.
Disney’s third weekend of “Mary Poppins Returns” should lead the rest of the pack in the $15 million range. The sequel, starring Emily Blunt as the iconic British nanny, has brought in nearly $120 million in its first 15 days in North America.
“Escape Room” will face competition for third place with Paramount’s third weekend of “Transformers” prequel “Bumblebee” and Sony’s fourth frame of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” “Bumblebee” has topped $81 million and “Spider-Verse” has gone past $117 million in North America.
Studios traditionally hold off on major openings on the first weekend of the year, noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore. “Coming in the wake of what is typically one of the busiest weeks at the multiplex, the first weekend of the year could be best described as the calm after the storm and as such it’s usually not a hotbed for new releases and is most often dominated by the hot holiday holdover film from the prior year,” he said.