The race between director Kenneth Branagh's star-studded Murder on the Orient Express and holiday comedy Daddy's Home 2 is turning out to be closer than expected at the North American box office.
Both films are performing ahead of expectations, grossing nearly $11 million on Friday for a projected weekend in the $27 million-$28 million range. Most box-office observers are giving Murder on the Orient Express the edge, but either way, Daddy's Home 2 is a needed win for Paramount Pictures.
Disney and Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok will win the weekend overall with a sophomore outing of $54 million or more, pushing the tentpole's global total well past $600 million by Sunday.
From Fox, Murder on the Orient Express is playing in 3,341 theaters and grossed $10.8 million on Friday. The film received a B CinemaScore.
Branagh also stars in the mystery movie opposite Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daisy Ridley. It marks the fourth big-screen or television adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic tale.
Daddy's Home 2 , playing in 3,575 theaters, earned $10.9 million on Friday. The film socred an A- CinemaScore, compared to a B+ for the first one.
The sequel sees the return of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow joining the budding franchise. This time out, Dusty (Wahlberg) and Brad (Ferrell) join forces to provide their kids the best Christmas, but their newfound union is put to the test when their own fathers show up. Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio are also among the cast.
The first Daddy's Home debuted to $38.7 million over its Christmas 2015 weekend debut, but had the advantage of playing to families off for the holidays.
Another holiday-themed pic, STXfilms' Bad Moms Christmas, is enjoying a decent hold in its second weekend. The R-rated comedy is expected to gross $11 million for the weekend, putting its domestic total at nearly $40 million through Sunday.
Greta Gerwig's critically acclaimed specialty movie, Lady Bird, continues to soar as it expands into a total of 37 theaters. The movie looks to come in No. 11 with $1.1 million for a per screen average of $29,864.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Fox Searchlight's awards contender Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.
Nov. 10, 12 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Nov. 11, 7:30 a.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.