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Don’t look for any of the three new movies opening nationwide this weekend to be the boss of hearty pre-Easter holdovers The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast, both of which could earn in the high $20 million range, if not more.
The staying power of the two family films are going to make life especially tough for Sony’s animated Smurfs: The Lost Village, which is projected to debut in the mid-teen millions.
Lost Village was intended to reboot the film series after The Smurfs 2, released in 2013, did far less business than The Smurfs (2011). Boasting an all-new voice cast and a female heroine (Demi Lovato), Lost Village follows the iconic blue creatures as Smurfette and her pals ignore orders and venture into the forbidden forest ruled by the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson).
Sony notes that the Smurf movies have all done the majority of their business overseas, and that Lost Village was made for a reported $60 million, less than the first two films. Also lending their voices to the latest outing are Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper and Ariel Winter.
Two other new films also open nationwide this weekend: Going in Style, directed by Zach Braff; and the faith-based film The Case for Christ.
Targeting elderly moviegoers, Village Roadshow and New Line’s Going in Style is a remake of the 1979 heist film of the same name and stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three retirees who decide to rob a bank when their pensions go belly-up. Ann-Margret and Matt Dillon also star in the movie, which is tracking to open to a disappointing $8 million.
Going in Style cost a reported $25 million to make.
The Case for Christ, an independent film distributed by Pure Flix Films, is tipped to gross $5 million to $6 million in its debut. The drama, based on the book of the same name, is about a self-avowed atheist and journalist who sets out to disprove his wife’s newfound Christian faith. The Case for Christ stars Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster.
A pair of star-studded movies are also set to debut at the specialty box office: Neon’s Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway as a woman who battles a Godzilla-like creature in South Korea; and Focus Features’ The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro and starring Jessica Chastain, which is expanding into more than 800 theaters after a limited bow last weekend.
Aside from Colossal, other new limited offerings include Fox Searchlight’s drama Gifted, directed by Marc Webb and starring Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace and Octavia Spencer; and STX Entertainment’s British romantic comedy Their Finest, starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy.