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Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 topped Friday’s chart with $16.7 million for a projected debut of $41 million-$43 million, easily enough to claim the weekend crown. Dracula and his crew also nabbed an A- CinemaScore from audiences.
Conversely, Skyscraper only scaled $9.3 million on Friday for a projected $24 million-$25 million domestic debut, marking a major disappointment for Johnson and the two studios who made the $129 million action pic, Legendary and Universal. The bad news began Thursday night, when Skyscraper earned a mediocre $1.95 million in previews. The film’s CinemaScore is a B+.
Skyscraper is counting on big returns overseas, where it is headed for a $41.2 million debut from 57 markets this weekend before unfurling in China on July 20. The film could do sizable business in China, where Johnson’s Rampage earned $156.4 million earlier this year, almost half of its entire foreign gross.
Heading into the weekend, pre-release tracking suggested Skyscraper would clear anywhere from $33 million-$40 million in its North American launch. The action-disaster pic reteams Johnson with his Central Intelligence director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, and is the actor’s fourth movie in a little over a year after Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Rampage. (Baywatch likewise got sunburned in summer 2017 when debuting to $18.5 million.)
Fellow action pics Rampage, released in April, opened to $35.8 million domestically, while San Andreas impressed with $54.5 million on its first weekend in summer 2015.
Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 is coming in on the high end of expectations. The first Hotel Transylvania debuted to $42.5 million, followed by $48.5 million for the sequel. Both launched in September.
Hotel Transylvania 3 and Skyscraper are both battling competition from Ant-Man and the Wasp, which cleared the $100 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday, its sixth day in release. The superhero sequel is projected to come in No. 2 in its second weekend with $28 million-$30 million.
Skyscraper stars Johnson as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader and amputee now assigned to provide security for a towering skyscraper in China. He must spring into action when his wife (Neve Campbell) and children are trapped inside the world’s tallest building after villains set fire to it. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who made Central Intelligence with Johnson, wrote and directed the film.
Hotel Transylvania 3 cost a reported $80 million to produce before marketing. Adam Sandler once again voices the role of Dracula, who decides to take a cruise with his pals, only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). She also happens to be a relative and loyal ally of Van Helsing, a notorious vampire hunter. The voice cast also includes Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan and Mel Brooks, with Genndy Tartakovsky directing.
Hotel Transylvania 3 has already begun rolling out overseas, where it has grossed $6 million to date. By this weekend, the film will be playing in nearly 50 percent of the international marketplace.
Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 and Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will round out the top five in North America. Both films are on course to gross in the $15 million range.
The specialty box office is delivering strong results. Annapurna’s Sorry to Bother You, expanding into a total of 805 theaters, is moving into the top 10 this weekend with a projected $4 million.
Among new offerings, A24’s Eighth Grade could deliver the biggest opening screen average of the year so far, or $63,000-plus. The film is projected to earn $253,000 or more from four theaters. Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is the current crown-holder. His film, debuting in 27 theaters last winter, posted a screen average of $60,011.
July 13, 12:45 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.
July 14, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend projections and Friday grosses.
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