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There’s going to be plenty of action at the weekend box office, thanks to an an outrageous adult animated comedy about talking hot dogs, a family-friendly dragon named Elliot, a wannabe opera singer played by Meryl Streep and a rag-tag group of supervillains.
Holdover Suicide Squad is widely expected to have no trouble staying No. 1 in its second outing, according to predictions. The big question is how well it holds, or doesn’t. The critically reviled anti-superhero film opened to a sturdy $133.7 million last weekend to score the best August debut of all time, despite a steep Friday-to-Saturday drop. And it earned an August-best $13.1 million Monday and $14.3 million on Tuesday, bringing its domestic total to an early $161.1 million for Warner Bros.
For the coming weekend, Suicide Squad is expected to earn anywhere from $47 million-$54 million, a decline of 60 to 65 percent.
The weekend’s three new entries are Sony and Annapurna’s Sausage Party; Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, a live-action/CGI reimagining of the 1977 movie; and Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.
Sausage Party, debuting in roughly 2,800 theaters, has the potential to be a breakout hit, thanks to a modest budget, glowing reviews and producing duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the team behind This Is the End. The pair partnered with Annapurna’s Megan Ellison and Sony to make the movie, which is about a brave sausage who leads his fellow hot dogs on a quest to learn what really happens when they leave the grocery store. Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan directed from a script by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Rogen and Goldberg.
Projections show the R-rated comedy opening in the $15 million-$20 million range, a strong showing considering its $19 million production budget. Sony is being more conservative in saying low- to mid-teen millions, while bullish box-office analysts believe it could do even more than tracking suggests. The voice cast includes Michael Cera, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig and Rogen.
Sausage Party currently boasts an 88 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Pete’s Dragon, rated PG and rolling out in 3,702 theaters, isn’t far behind at 86 percent.
Pete’s Dragon, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley and Robert Redford, looks set to open in the mid-$25 million range, a more modest number than most Disney films. It also cost less, at $65 million. David Lowery directed from a script he wrote with Toby Halbrooks.
The story revolves around a young orphan living in the woods of the Pacific Northwest whose best friend is none other than a giant green dragon. Upon meeting the boy and hearing his tale, a forest ranger, played by Howard, tries to get to the truth of the dragon’s existence. Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence and Karl Urban Jr. also star.
Director Stephen Frears‘ Florence Foster Jenkins hopes to lure older adults not so interested in the other new offerings. It will have a far smaller footprint than its rivals, or roughly 1,500 locations. The film, based on the real-life story of a New York heiress who bought a career as an opera star only to be ridiculed, is expected to debut in the $5 million-$8 million range.
Pathe and BBC Films produced the $19 million film, which was written by Nicholas Martin and also stars Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and Nina Arianda.
Florence Foster Jenkins is at 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
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