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Universal and Blumhouse’s The First Purge set off fireworks at the July Fourth box office with an opening day of $9.3 million. The dystopian horror pic opened on Independence Day to get a jump on Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Overall, it was a good day at the box office, considering July Fourth isn’t always a great day for moviegoing (the heat wave on the East Coast likely helped this year). Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, also from Universal, stayed No. 1 with $11.5 million for a domestic total of $297.6 million (the dinos will stomp past $300 million today).
Disney and Pixar’s Incredibles 2 placed No. 2 with $9.6 million for a North American cume of $468.2 million. The First Purge followed in third place.
Overall, box-office revenue clocked in at $43.5 million on Wednesday, a whopping 29 percent uptick over Independence Day in 2017 and the best showing since 2013, according to comScore.
Marking the fourth installment in the successful horror franchise, The First Purge is targeting a $25 million-$30 million Wednesday-Sunday launch, although Wednesday’s number suggests it will finish at the higher end of that range. Wednesday’s haul included $2.5 million in Tuesday-night previews. Platinum Dunes is also a producer on the series.
In July 2016, The Purge: Election Year debuted to $31.5 million after earning $3.6 million in Thursday-night previews (that film opened on a Friday).
The First Purge is a prequel explaining the origins of the annual Purge, a 12-hour period during which it’s legal to commit any crime, including murder. But what begins as an experiment to stop the crime rate takes a different course when “purgers” go into low-income neighborhoods. Tracking shows the movie appealing to younger, diverse moviegoers.
Gerard McMurray directed The First Purge from a script by James DeMonaco, who wrote and helmed the first three films. Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Jovian Wade, Luna Lauren Velez and Marisa Tomei star in the prequel, which also launches this week in its first 27 international markets.
Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp opens everywhere Friday, following Thursday-evening previews. If tracking is correct, the follow-up should buzz between $75 million and $85 million its domestic debut, ahead of the $57.2 million launch of Ant-Man in summer 2015.
July 5, 7:45 a.m. Updated with Wednesday grosses.
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