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LOS ANGELES - Lionsgate's 'The Hitman's Bodyguard” is heading for as much as $20 million at 3,337 North American locations, which will easily top a sleepy weekend at the domestic box office, early estimates showed Friday.
Steven Soderbergh's heist caper 'Logan Lucky” is showing little traction with about $8 million at 3,026 sites -- about half the second weekend of 'Annabelle: Creation” at about $15 million.
The disparity between the two openers -- both action-comedies aimed at adults -- came into focus with the first actual numbers from Thursday night previews. 'Hitman's Bodyguard” pulled in $1.7 million at 2,600 sites on Thursday night, or more than three times the 'Logan Lucky” preview take of $525,000.
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PostTrak data on 'Hitman's Bodyguard” taken on Thursday night showed potential for solid word-of-mouth with 42% of the audience members surveyed rating the film 'excellent” and another 29% calling it 'very good.”
'The Hitman's Bodyguard,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, has been tracking to open in the $15 million to $20 million range during the Friday-Sunday period and appears to be coming in at the high end of those estimates. Still, it's going to be one of the smallest opening weekends of the year and will be the lowest of the summer if it doesn't match the $19.2 million launch frame for Sony's 'The Dark Tower” on Aug. 4-6.
'Logan Lucky” is the only other major opening this weekend, with Bleecker Street and Fingerprint Releasing handling distribution. Forecasts for 'Logan Lucky,” starring Channing Tatum, Riley Keough, and Adam Driver as siblings trying to pull off a massive robbery at the Coca-Cola 600 Nascar race, had ranged from $6 million to $12 million for third place.
Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk” should finish fourth in its fifth weekend, earning anywhere from $6 million to $8 million. The World War II epic has been one of the few solid performers of the summer, grossing $158.8 million in four weeks.
In 'The Hitman's Bodyguard,” Reynolds plays the titular bodyguard hired to protect a notorious hitman, portrayed by Jackson. The film follows the mismatched duo on a journey from London to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands in order for the hitman to testify against an Eastern European dictator, played by Gary Oldman.
'The Hitman's Bodyguard,” directed by Patrick Hughes ('The Expendables 3”) from Tom O'Connor's script, has generated negative reviews, earning a 39% rating on 'Rotten Tomatoes.” The budget is a relatively modest $30 million.
'Logan Lucky,” Soderbergh's first film since 2013's 'Side Effects,” comes into the market with a financial model aimed at providing the director more control over the marketing. The movie, which carries a $29 million budget, has produced positive notices with a current 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
'Annabelle: Creation,” which conjured $35 million in its opening to dominate an otherwise lackluster frame last weekend, will wind up the weekend with about $64 million in its first 10 days. The film is the fourth in New Line's highly profitable 'Conjuring” universe and should see the combined worldwide grosses hit the $1 billion mark this weekend, thanks to 2013's 'The Conjuring,” 2014's 'Annabelle,” 2016's 'The Conjuring 2,” and 'Annabelle: Creation.” Next up is 'The Nun,” starring Taissa Farmiga and Demian Bichir and due out July 13.