Box-Office Preview: Can 'Legend of Tarzan' Swing Past Steven Spielberg's 'The BFG?'

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
'The Legend of Tarzan'

Neither big-budget film is expected to set off major fireworks; instead, the Fourth of July financial winner could be 'The Purge: Election Year.'

Tarzan makes a return to the big screen this weekend in a sizeable gamble for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures.

According to one major tracking service, The Legend of Tarzan may not top $30 million over the long Fourth of July holiday. However, more bullish box-office analysts believe it will instead open to $30 million-$35 million domestically and edge out Steven Spielberg's family entry The BFG, which is aiming for $30 million.

Either way, neither film is expected to set off major fireworks when considering how much they cost. Instead, the Fourth of July weekend financial winner among the new offerings looks to be the modestly budgeted horror pic The Purge: Election Year with a debut in the $24 million-$25 million range.

And the holiday crown could easily go to holdover Finding Dory. On Tuesday, Pixar and Disney's animated sequel crossed $300 million domestically in record time for an animated film (12 days) for a total $311.2 million. (It took 18 days for previous champs Shrek 2 and Toy Story 3 to reach the mark.)

Tarzan, rolling out in 3,561 theaters domestically, including Imax and other premium large-format screens, cost $180 million to make before marketing. David Yates directed the action-adventure film, which stars Alexander Skarsgard in the title role opposite Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Dimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.

Warners and Village Roadshow are hopeful that the international box office will more than make up for a potentially muted showing in North America. Tarzan launches in 19 markets this weekend, including South Korea and Russia, and it will open in a number of other major markets next week before landing in China on July 19.

Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment partnered with Disney and Walden Media on The BFG, based on Roald Dahl's beloved book of the same name about a man-eating giant (Mark Rylance) who softens upon meeting a young orphan girl (Ruby Barnhill). The movie's net production budget was roughly $140 million, while the late Melissa Mathison wrote the adapted script.

The BFG, earning mostly solid reviews, made its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival. It marks the first time Spielberg has directed a movie for Disney, which currently has another family film in the marketplace, Pixar's hit sequel Finding Dory.

The Purge: Election Year, the third title in Blumhouse and Universal's profitable horror franchise, will be playing in 2,787 theaters. Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes also is a producer on the film, which cost just $10 million to make.

Sequel The Purge: Anarchy debuted to $29.8 million in late July 2014, while The Purge opened to an impressive $35.1 million in June 2013.

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