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Box Office: Can Gina Rodriguez’s ‘Miss Bala’ Break ‘Glass” Streak?

Gina Rodriguez is taking on the unlikeliest of competitors this weekend — Super Bowl LIII.

The actress, best known for her titular role on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” is heading to the big screen for her first starring role in a studio film with “Miss Bala.” Sony’s thriller, based on the well-regarded 2011 Mexican crime movie, is hoping to entice moviegoers as Sunday’s primetime match between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots draws fans outside of theaters. The biggest weekend in football tends to slow ticket sales in North America as people park themselves in front of television sets to watch the championship game.

With a primarily Latinx cast and crew, “Miss Bala” should have added appeal to Latinos, a demographic that tends to turn out in force at multiplexes. The drug-cartel drama is expected to generate between $6 million and $10 million when it opens in over 2,000 locations. A single-digit debut would represent a modest start for a movie that cost $15 million to produce. The studio is bracing for a slower start due to the Super Bowl and anticipates that “Miss Bala” will pick up steam heading into Presidents’ Day weekend. Rodriguez, who most recently appeared in Paramount Pictures’ “Annihilation,” portrays a woman who is forced to take on Mexican drug lords after her friend is kidnapped. Catherine Hardwicke, the filmmaker behind “Twilight” and “Thirteen,” directed “Miss Bala.”

A friendly game of pigskin won’t be “Miss Bala’s” only challenger. The suspenseful drama will have to tackle reigning champ “Glass” before it can claim victory. M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller stayed atop the domestic box office for a second weekend in a row after newcomers “The Kid Who Would Be King” and “Serenity” bombed. “Glass” has earned $75 million in North America, including $19 million last weekend, along with $89 million overseas. If the film — which shares a cinematic universe with both 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split” — sees a similar decline as its sophomore frame, “Glass” could add $8 million to $10 million in its third weekend of release.

“Miss Bala” is the only new wide release hitting theaters this weekend. Elsewhere, a mix of holdovers and Oscar contenders will vie for some love from moviegoers.

Disney’s “Black Panther” is heading back to multiplexes in honor of Black History Month for a one-week engagement at 250 AMC theaters. Tickets are free of charge, and there will be two showings per day at participating locations. Marvel’s game-changing superhero adventure, which landed a historic Oscar best picture nomination, along with six other nods, became a box office behemoth when it first opened almost a year ago. It grossed $700 million in North America alone, one of only three titles to ever reach that benchmark in the States.

Universal’s “Green Book” is also expanding its screen count again this weekend, taking the road-trip drama starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali to more than 2,600 screens. That marks the widest release to date for the crowd-pleasing pic, which has struggled to fill theaters despite becoming an awards-season frontrunner. “Green Book” has been hit by a few controversies along the way, but it has still been showered with plaudits by nearly every branch of the industry. It saw a boost in revenue after landing five Oscar nominations last week, generating another $5 million for a domestic haul of $49 million. “Green Book,” which carries a $25 million price tag, hasn’t had much luck at the international box office, where it has made just $10 million.

Fellow best picture nominees “The Favourite,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Vice,” and “A Star Is Born” have also managed to squeeze some extra juice out of audiences’ wallets. Fox Searchlight’s “The Favourite” and Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” each added $2 million to their respective box office bounties last weekend, while Annapurna’s “Vice” and Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born” scraped together over $1 million after expanding theater counts.

January is a traditionally slow time at movie theaters, and 2019 was even quieter than usual with ticket sales down almost 13% compared to last year, according to Comscore. Can a gun-toting Gina Rodriguez turn things around?

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