6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'Red Sparrow,' 'Death Wish' Brave 'Black Panther'
Disney and Marvel's blockbuster Black Panther is once again expected to devour the competition at the North American box office this weekend as it bounds past the $500 million mark domestically.
Continuing its historic winning streak, the superhero pic is projected to take in north of $60 million, one of the best showings of all time for a film in its third outing.
A pair of R-rated action movies will go up against Black Panther: Jennifer Lawrence-starrer Red Sparrow and Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 revenge thriller that starred Charles Bronson. This time out, Bruce Willis plays the leading man.
Fox and Chernin Entertainment are predicting an opening in the mid-teen millions for Red Sparrow, while tracking services suggest it could climb a bit higher. The film, set to play in 3,050 locations, reunites Lawrence with her Hunger Games director, Frances Lawrence.
Based on the novel by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow tells the tale of a Russian ballerina who, after suffering a career-ending injury, becomes a seductive and cunning intelligence operative. Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker and Charlotte Rampling co-star.
Red Sparrow, costing a net $69 million to produce, was originally set to hit theaters last April.
The release of Death Wish was likewise pushed back after initially being slotted to open last November. The movie — marking the first release from MGM since the indie studio re-entered the domestic distribution business — is also expected to debut in the mid-teen millions.
Horror maestro Eli Roth directed Death Wish, which stars Willis as a doctor who takes the law into his own hands after an attack on his wife and daughter. Costing a reported $30 million to make after tax rebates and incentives, the movie co-stars Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D'Onofrio, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Mike Epps. It will play in 2,750 cinemas.
At the specialty box office, movies competing in the Oscar race hope to benefit from an 11th-hour surge before Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, including such best-picture nominees as The Shape of Water; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Darkest Hour; Phantom Thread; and Call Me by Your Name. Also, Sony Classics opens the Israeli film Foxtrot, which is up for best foreign-language feature, in select cinemas timed to the Oscars.