Box-Office Preview: Melissa McCarthy's 'The Boss' Takes on 'Batman v. Superman'

Hopper Stone/Universal
'The Boss'

Also opening nationwide this weekend is the genre-bending 'Hardcore Henry,' while Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Demolition' makes its debut at the specialty box office.

Who's in charge?

Melissa McCarthy returns to the big screen this weekend in R-rated comedy The Boss, which will battle holdover Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for the top spot at the North American box office.

Tracking services show The Boss grossing in the $24 million range, although Universal is being more conservative in suggesting $20 million, in line with McCarthy's previous comedy Tammy, which debuted to $21.6 million in summer 2014. Both The Boss and Tammy were directed by Ben Falcone, McCarthy's husband and producing partner. 

Co-starring Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage and Kathy Bates, The Boss features a slimmed-down McCarthy as a titan of industry who is busted for insider trading. After serving time in prison, she goes to live with her former assistant and tries to reinvent herself by becoming America's latest sweetheart and queen of homemade brownies. But not everyone she's screwed over is so quick to forgive.

McCarthy and Falcone wrote the script with their Groundlings collaborator, Steve Mallory. The couple produced The Boss, which goes out in more than 3,400 theaters, via their On the Day production company alongside Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy's Gary Sanchez Productions. (It remains to be seen whether The Boss, costing $29 million to produce, is hurt by dismal reviews.)

Box-office observers are divided as to what Batman v. Superman will gross in its third outing after a steep drop last weekend. Some think the superhero movie could earn $27 million to $28 million, easily enough to beat The Boss. Others believe it could come in between $22 million and $24 million. Either way, the big-budget tentpole, which launches the DC cinematic universe for Warner Bros., should approach $800 million through Sunday.

 

The Boss looks to be a big draw among older females, while the weekend's other new nationwide player, Hardcore Henry, hopes to lure adult males, including gaming enthusiasts.

Produced by Timur Bekmambetov and scooped up by STX Entertainment for $10 million after premiering at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, Hardcore Henry is billed as the first-ever action movie filmed entirely from the protagonist's first-person viewpoint. The R-rated genre title, a U.S.-Russia co-production, looks likely to open in the $9 million range, according to traditional tracking services, although some social media denizens believe it could end up in the mid-teen millions.

Hardcore Henry, set to open in roughly 3,000 theaters, follows a man who is brought back from the edge of death only to find himself transformed into a cybernetic soldier who scours the streets of Moscow in a frantic search to find the warlord responsible for kidnapping his wife. (The film currently boasts a 74 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to just 10 percent for The Boss, the worst rating to date for a McCarthy comedy.)

Another 2015 TIFF title makes its debut this weekend at the specialty box office: Jean-Marc Vallee's Demolition, opening in roughly 500 theaters in select cities. Look for the Fox Searchlight entry, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper, to gross between $2 million and $3 million in its limited launch.

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