×

After a quiet January that saw one horror sequel and the same holiday releases putter out over several weeks, the domestic box office finally has a new leader. Paramount Pictures’ “Jackass Forever” is projected to earn $20.7 million in its opening, stunting on the weekend’s other wide release, “Moonfall.”

“Jackass Forever” earned $9.6 million on Friday across 3,604 locations. The document-of-bodily-harm-cum-heartwarming-reunion is landing near the top of its box office estimates, which projected the movie to take in around $15 million to $20 million in its opening weekend.

“Jackass Forever” sees the return of stuntmen Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man and many other MTV comrades, rounding up the old gang and consigning them to another gauntlet of painful pranks and good fun. Franchise director Jeff Tremaine also returns to helm the entry. Since the film only cost around $10 million to produce, opening day profits have practically put it in the black already.

The reception from general moviegoers has been largely positive, with the film landing a “B+” CinemaScore rating. And, in a reflection of how much a culture’s value system can shift over a 12-year span, “Jackass Forever” is an out-and-out critical darling, drawing a franchise-high 87% score on the critical aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. In Variety‘s review, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman hailed the outing as “a no-frills serial stunt movie that’s almost cozy in its depravity, even as the feats of dumbbell daring come off as more dangerous than ever.”

Meanwhile, Lionsgate’s “Moonfall” is crash-landing behind its competition. After earning $3.4 million in its opening day from 3,446 locations, the disaster epic could struggle to hit its initial three-day projections of $10 million to $12 million. That’s one small step for “Moonfall” and the film will now need to look for a giant leap from international audiences, as it opens in over 50 countries worldwide this weekend.

The Centropolis Entertainment film carries a budget of $140 million, making it one of the most expensive independently financed film productions in history. Lionsgate is handling the film domestically, while AGC International has international distribution rights.

“Moonfall” is about a crisis team attempting to prevent the moon from falling. The film boasts a sweeping ensemble that includes Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña and Donald Sutherland and is directed and co-produced by Roland Emmerich, arguably modern cinema’s primary purveyor of large-scale destruction, with “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012” to his name.

Reviews and audience responses has been lukewarm at best, with the film netting a critical approval rating of 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and a “C+” CinemaScore. But Variety‘s chief film critic Peter Debruge enjoyed the film, writing: “Sure, ‘Moonfall’ is all kinds of stupid, but it’s a heckuva lot funnier than Adam McKay’s all-star satire. I had a blast, and would gladly saddle up for a second viewing.”

Even in its eighth weekend of release, Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” may have the juice to beat out “Moonfall” for the runner-up slot at the box office. The studio is projecting an $8.8 million gross over the three-day weekend. The MCU entry has been enjoying a steady slowdown at the box office — the film earned $2 million on Friday, marking a mere 25% drop from its previous Friday.

By the end of the weekend, “No Way Home” should expand its domestic gross to $747 million, putting it within striking distance of the bronze slot on the all-time domestic box office chart, currently held by James Cameron’s “Avatar” ($760 million).

Paramount’s “Scream” is winding down its domestic run a bit more quickly. The self-branded horror “requel” is projected to earn $4.36 million over the weekend, marking a 40% drop from its previous outing. With a production budget of $25 million, the slasher was the box office’s only real success story in January. On Thursday, Paramount officially greenlit a sequel, with directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett set to return for the franchise’s sixth entry.

Universal’s “Sing 2” will round at the top five at the domestic box office. The animated sequel will add an additional $4 million in its seventh weekend of release, expanding its domestic intake to $139 million.