Box-Office Showdown: Tom Cruise's 'The Mummy' to Get Lassoed by 'Wonder Woman'

The reboot is counting on a strong run overseas — where Cruise still has huge sway — to make up for a probable deficit in the U.S. Case in point: 'The Mummy' scored the biggest opening day of all time in South Korea on Tuesday with $6.6 million.
Courtesy of Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.
'The Mummy' (left), 'Wonder Woman'

Last month, early tracking for Universal’s The Mummy suggested the summer event film would debut to $40 million or so when opening in North American theaters this weekend, a tepid start for the first title in the studio's planned stable of films built around its iconic monster characters.

The forecast for the reboot has only gotten scarier from there — at least domestically. One of the industry’s most respected polling services, NRG, downgraded its projection to $38 million last week and to $35 million on Monday. Such surveys can certainly be unreliable, but if NRG is correct, The Mummy will lose this weekend’s domestic box-office race to holdover Wonder Woman.

Universal insiders say The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, will be fine thanks to the international box office, where the actor remains a huge draw. Case in point: The pic scored the biggest opening day of all time in South Korea on Tuesday with an estimated $6.6 million, besting the 2016 local blockbuster Train to Busan, which nabbed $6.5 million on its first day.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, the modern-day take cost $125 million to make after tax rebates, and also stars Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson and Courtney B. Vance.

"The Mummy arrives with the feel of another reboot — something audiences, especially in North America, have become all-too familiar with," says box-office analyst Jeff Bock. "It had better succeed overseas."

Bock and others predict that Wonder Woman could drop as little as 50 percent from its domestic debut this past weekend, meaning it could take in $50 million-plus for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.

The foreign box office is a different story, where The Mummy is expected to place No. 1 this weekend as it rolls out in most corners of the globe, including China.

It wouldn't be the first 2017 summer tentpole to see most of its treasure come from outside the U.S.: Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has crossed the $500 million mark globally in under two weeks, thanks to a foreign haul of $393 million through Sunday.

In recent years, Cruise has enjoyed far more success overseas, outside of the Mission: Impossible series. In June 2014, Edge of Tomorrow debuted to $28.8 million in North America before topping out at $100.2 million domestically. It did nearly triple that overseas, earning a total $270.3 million for a global cume of $370.5 million. Oblivion, released in spring 2013, grossed just under $200 million internationally, compared with $89.1 million in North America.

Reviews of The Mummy won't be published until mid-week.

On May 22, Universal unveiled its new Dark Universe label. The endeavor includes director Bill Condon's Bride of Frankenstein, which is set to hit theaters Feb. 14, 2019.

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