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‘Ready or Not,’ ‘Angel Has Fallen’ Enter Box Office Race

Three more contenders are joining what has lately been a hostile box office arena. Can anyone emerge from August victorious?

Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” a black comedy about a diabolical game of hide-and-seek, will debut in 2,244 North American theaters on Wednesday. The low-budget film is expected to earn upwards of $6.5 million over the weekend and $8 million to $12 million during its first five days of release. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, “Ready or Not” stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who finds out her in-laws intend to stalk and kill her. Unlike the overtly political themes in Universal’s controversial “The Hunt,” “Ready or Not” takes a more fantasy-oriented approach to hunting humans for sport.

In a positive review, Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge called the film a “deranged and darkly comedic thriller [that] packs subversive pleasures aplenty.” Debruge is not alone in his praise. The R-rated thriller boasts a strong 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell also star.

Though “Ready or Not” is getting a head start on the weekend, Lionsgate’s “Angel Has Fallen” could nab the No. 1 spot on box office charts. The third chapter in the “Fallen” franchise — starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Jada Pinkett Smith — should earn $13 million to $15 million when it launches on 3,200 screens. Unless the movie overperforms, “Angel Has Fallen” is eyeing a series-low start behind 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen” ($30 million) and 2016’s “London Has Fallen” ($21.6 million). In “Angel Has Fallen,” Butler returns as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, who has to clear his named after being framed for an attack on the U.S. president (Freeman).

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Also opening this weekend is Christian drama “Overcomer.” The faith-based film, from the creators of “War Room,” is expected to make around $6 million from 1,500 locations. Director Alex Kendrick also stars in the film as a high school basketball coach whose dreams of winning state championships are thwarted upon learning some unexpected news. Sony is distributing the PG movie, which cost $5 million.

In limited release, Amazon Studios’ “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is debuting in five theaters: AMC Lincoln Square, Angelika and Cinemas 123 in New York, as well as Arclight Hollywood and the Landmark in Los Angeles. Paul Downs Colaizzo directed from his own script. In the crowd-pleasing comedy, Jillian Bell portrays an overweight woman who signs up for a lengthy race to get her life on track. Amazon bought the movie for $14 million at Sundance.

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