Box-Office Preview: Can 'Jack Reacher 2' Trump 'Boo! A Madea Halloween'?

Lionsgate; Paramount Pictures
'Boo! A Madea Halloween' (left), 'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back'

Supernatural horror offering 'Ouija: Origin of Evil' and comedy 'Keeping Up With the Joneses' also open nationwide.

Get ready for a showdown between Tom Cruise and Tyler Perry at the North American box office this weekend.

Cruise starrer Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween are both projected to open in the high-teen million to $20 million range, according to prerelease tracking. (Some are betting on an upset with Boo! winning.)

Never Go Back, a sequel to Jack Reacher, is a big gamble for Paramount and Cruise as they try to launch a midrange franchise based on Lee Child's macho-fueled book series about an ex-military policeman fighting for justice wherever he goes. The first film, which opened to $15 million over the Dec. 21-23 weekend in 2012, wasn't considered a huge win at the box office after topping out at $218.3 worldwide, but did big business in home entertainment.

Paramount and partner Skydance Productions also believe there is plenty of room for growth overseas, where Cruise remains a huge star, particularly in Asian markets. Never Go Back opens day-and-date in 40 international territories — including China, where the studio has struck a major local partnership. (Last week, Cruise was in the Middle Kingdom to promote the movie.)

Never Go Back, directed by Edward Zwick and costing $60 million to make, has drawn less-than-stellar reviews so far.

Perry wrote, directed and stars in Boo! A Madea Halloween, a comedy-horror film that originated from a fake Madea movie featured in the Chris Rock film Top Five. The movie is the latest collaboration from Perry and Lionsgate featuring the popular character played by Perry. The independent studio is erring on the side of caution and projecting an opening in the mid-teen millions.

Others think Boo! could prove the Halloween hit of 2016, which is noticeably devoid of the traditional horror offerings outside of Universal and Blumhouse Productions' Ouija: Origin of Evil, which likewise opens this weekend. Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes and Hasbro, maker of the classic board game Ouija, also partnered on the film, which also is tracking to open in the mid-teen millions.

Ouija, costing less than $9 million to make, boasts glowing reviews and could easily overperform.

Prospects are decidedly muted for the weekend's fourth new nationwide offering, Fox 2000's comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses, directed by Greg Mottola and starring Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot. The $40 million film is expected to open to $6 million-$7 million. If so, it will mark the latest comedy to underwhelm.

Produced by Laurie Macdonald and Walter F. Parkes, Keeping Up With the Joneses follows an ordinary suburban couple who find it impossible to keep up with their glamorous new neighbors — especially when they discover that Mr. and Mrs. Jones are covert operatives.

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