Box Office Preview: 'Paul Blart 2,' 'Unfriended' No Match for 'Furious 7'
Globally, 'Furious 7' could cross the $1 billion mark by the end of the weekend.
Universal's Furious 7 is expected to do laps around the new films opening this weekend in North America, including Kevin James' Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and the microbudgeted Blumhouse horror-thriller, Unfriended.
That is, unless Mall Cop 2 substantially overperforms. As it stands now, the Sony sequel may only open in the mid- to high-teens, well behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The first film debuted over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in 2009, earning a stellar $31.8 million for the three days and $39.2 million for the four days.
This time out, James' character takes his family on vacation to Las Vegas, but duty quickly calls. Directed by Andy Fickman and co-produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison, Mall Cop 2 co-stars Raini Rodriguez, Neal McConough and Shirley Knight. It goes out in 3,629 theaters.
James was keen on making Mall Cop 2, which cost a relatively modest $30 million to make. The action-sequel should be a draw for families, thanks to its friendly PG rating. It faces little competition in terms of fellow comedies.
Furious 7 could easily earn $30 to $35 million in its third weekend domestically, pushing its North American total to $300 million or more through Sunday. And worldwide, it could clock in at $1 billion or more by weekend's end, becoming the first title in Universal's history to reach that milestone in its original run.
Universal is also high on Unfriended, which is pacing to open in the $10 million-$12 million range after costing just $1 million to make. If it exceeds expectations, it could find itself in a close race for No. 2 with Mall Cop 2.
Unfriended, playing in 2,739 theaters, is the latest collaboration between the studio and Jason Blum's Blumhouse following The Purge franchise, Ouija and The Boy Next Door. The movie unfolds completely over a teenager's computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure seeking vengeance for a shaming video that led to another girl killing herself.
Timur Bekmambetov produced Unfriended alongside writer Nelson Greaves. Levan Gabriadze directed the R-rated movie, which is tracking best among moviegoers between the ages of 17 and 24.
Also opening this weekend nationwide is Disney's nature documentary Monkey Kingdom, which is expected to gross $5 million from 2,012 locations.
Making a more limited play is Child 44, a Stalin-era thriller starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Repace. The Lionsgate/Summit will open in roughly 500 theaters domestically. Adapted from the bestselling book by Tom Rob Smith, the $50 million movie was produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House).
Child 44 also opens in roughly 20 markets overseas, including the U.K., although it has been banned in Russia for the time being.