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Universal’s high-concept microbudgeted thriller The Purge invaded theaters on Thursday night, earning a solid $3.4 million in late-night and midnight runs.
The $3 million pic, starring Ethan Hawke and Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey, could earn $20 million-plus in its domestic debut this weekend, besting Shawn Levy‘s Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedy The Internship, which took in $800,000 as it rolled out Thursday night (both films opened at 10 p.m.).
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From 20th Century Fox and New Regency, The Internship did slightly better than expected, but isn’t expected to beat The Purge for the weekend in a blow for the filmmakers. Many reviewers have skewered the comedy, starring Vaughn and Wilson as washed-up sales men who become interns at Google, for being a love-letter to the giant tech company.
From writer-director James DeMonaco, The Purge — which has already made its budget back — is set in a future where one night a year all crime is legal. The Purge is the first title to be released through Universal’s partnership with Jason Blum, the producer behind the Paranormal Activity franchise and Insidious. Blum produced with Michael Bay, Sebastien K. LeMercier and Bay’s colleagues at Platinum Dunes, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller.
The Purge is leading ticket sales on Fandango, representing 54 percent of sales on Thursday. It’s currently Fandango’s top-selling horror movie of 2013 in terms of presales.
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