“The Northman,” a blood-drenched viking epic from director Robert Eggers, pillaged $1.35 million from 2,700 theaters in Thursday previews, while “The Bad Guys,” a kid-friendly spin on the heist genre, earned $1.15 million from 3,000 theaters.
Those aren’t the only new wide releases in town; they will also have to fend off “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” a very meta exercise in which Nicolas Cage stars as himself. It picked up $835,000 in Thursday previews from 3,036 theaters.
Universal’s indie label Focus released “The Northman,” which is projected to earn $10 million to $15 million in its first three days of release. That would be a strong result for an arthouse film, save for the fact that “The Northman” reportedly cost $90 million to make (insiders say that with tax credits that figure is closer to $70 million). That’s an awful lot of lucre. Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk and Willem Dafoe star in the film.
“The Bad Guys,” a Dreamworks Animation film, which has enjoyed good reviews from critics, is on track to gross between $15 million to $20 million. If those projections hold, it’s a disappointing start for the $70 million production, which will need a lift from overseas markets if it’s going to make a profit. “The Bad Guys” tells the story of a gang of crooks who try to go straight. It’s directed by Pierre Perifel and features a voice cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson and Awkwafina.
It’s unclear if the opening results for “The Northman” or “The Bad Guys” will be enough to capture the top spot at the domestic box office or if “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” which led all releases last weekend with a $43 million debut, will retain its crown.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is also looking like a box office whiff and is eyeing an $8 million launch. Directed by Tom Gormican, the film follows Cage, whose star has started to fade (on screen as in life), as a billionaire super fan (Pedro Pascal) offers him $1 million to attend a birthday party in the Maldives. There, he’s asked to do a lot more than help open presents. Cage must team up with the CIA and channel his most gonzo movie creations in order to save his family. Somewhere Jerry Bruckheimer must be weeping.