Box-Office Preview: 'Don't Breathe' Set to Win Late-Summer Weekend

Sony Pictures
'Don't Breathe'

Other new offerings include Obama date movie 'Southside With You,' 'Mechanic: Resurrection' and Roberto Duran biopic 'Hands of Stone' while specialty title 'Hell or High Water' makes a nationwide push after a successful limited run.

The sleepy days of August have arrived at the box office.

With the summer tentpole season over, a crop of genre films and titles from independent distributors will vie for attention this weekend at the North American box office. Psychological horror-thriller Don't Breathe, from Sony's Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films, is expected to win the race with $11 million-$14 million from more than 2,900 locations, according to projections. (Sony insiders are being more conservative in suggesting $11 million-$12 million.)

If Don't Breathe does come in No. 1, it will topple Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad from the top spot after ruling for three consecutive weekends.

Costing under $10 million to make, Don't Breathe hopes to repeat the success that other horror films have enjoyed this summer. From writer-director Fede Alvarez, the R-rated movie — currently sporting an impressive 91 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — revolves around a delinquent teenage girl and her boyfriend, along with another friend, whose attempt to rob a blind man's house takes a terrifying turn.

Ghost House Pictures and Good Universe were producers on Don't Breathe, which stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang and premiered at the South by Southwest festival in March.

The male-fueled Mechanic: Resurrection, a sequel to the 2011 film The Mechanic starring Jason Statham, will roll out in 2,258 theaters. Predictions show the action pic, with Statham returning in the title role, grossing $6 million-$8 million. Lionsgate is releasing the film on behalf of Millennium Films, which put up much of the financing.

Directed by Dennis Gansel from a script by Philip Shelby, Resurrection also stars Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh.

The Weinstein Co. will open Hands of Stone starring Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez, in roughly 800 locations, a modest footprint.

Hands of Stone, which made its world premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May to mixed reviews, stars Ramirez as Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, who was coached to greatness in the 1970s by trainer Ray Arcel (De Niro).

The film is the first release from TWC proper since Sing Street in April. That doesn't count Clown, a Dimension/TWC film that played in select theaters for two weeks this summer.

Also opening in approximately 800 theaters is first-time feature director Richard Tanne's critically acclaimed Southside With You, which chronicles President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama's first date in 1989 when they were young lawyers at the same Chicago firm. The film stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter and was fully financed by IM Global. Miramax and Roadside Attractions partnered in picking up U.S. rights out of the Sundance Film Festival, while Miramax also picked up several key territories, including the U.K.

Miramax and Roadside originally intended to open Southside With You in select theaters, but opted for a nationwide footprint thanks to strong reviews and a successful screening program.

Projections show Southside With You holding an edge over Hands of Stone.

One wild card is specialty film and modern-day Western Hell or High Water, one of the best-reviewed films of the year, which is set to expand to a total of 901 theaters.

The heist film, starring Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster, has done strong business in its limited debut over the past two weekends, performing well in both art houses and in the South, Southwest and Midwest. CBS Films and Lionsgate are partners on the film's domestic release.

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