Fresh off its Golden Globe wins, “1917” is marching into wide release. The World War I drama picked up an impressive $3.2 million from Thursday previews and is expected to top the box office this weekend with a $25 million haul.
It’s clearly capitalizing on the awards love. On Sunday, “1917” upset “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” to capture the Golden Globe for best motion picture, drama, as well as a directing statue for Sam Mendes. Universal and Amblin backed the $100 million production, which has earned rave reviews. Unlike previous epics, this look at trench warfare unfolds entirely in a single shot, making it something of a cinematic marvel. “1917” debuted in 11 theaters on Christmas Day in order to qualify for Oscars. It expands to 3,434 theaters this weekend.
“Just Mercy,” another awards contender, is also expanding to a wide release after appearing in a handful of theaters. It earned $800,000 from Thursday night screenings. The drama about a civil rights attorney (Michael B. Jordan) fighting to get a wrongfully convicted man (Jamie Foxx) off of death row is expected to earn $10 million when it screens in 2,375 theaters. Warner Bros. backed the $25 million production.
“Underwater,” a science-fiction thriller, appears to be sinking at the box office. The 20th Century Fox release grossed $500,000 in previews and is expected to earn less than $10 million this weekend, a horrific result given its $50 million budget. Kristen Stewart stars in the story of group of scientists who encounter deadly ocean creatures while drilling for resources. It’s shaping up to be another bomb for Fox, which has delivered a steady stream of duds, such as “Stuber” and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” since being acquired by the Walt Disney Company last spring. The studio did have a hit with this fall’s “Ford v Ferrari.” At least this one is a straight distribution deal. “Underwater” was produced by Chernin Entertainment and financed by TSG.
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Paramount’s “Like a Boss,” a comedy about two friends (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) who get into financial trouble with their cosmetics company and have to turn to an unscrupulous mogul (Salma Hayek), is also debuting. It earned $1 million from previews and should pick up $11 million this weekend. If estimates hold, that’s a mediocre result, but the film only cost $29 million to produce.