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Melissa McCarthy‘s Tammy grossed a somewhat subdued $6.2 million as it opened nationwide Wednesday, not enough to beat holdover Transformers: Age of Extinction as the long Fourth of July holiday got underway.
Age of Extinction, from director Michael Bay and Paramount, grossed $7.7 million for a six-day domestic total of $128.7 million.
The tentpole was always expected to beat Tammy for the Wednesday-Sunday stretch, but Tammy was expected to do better on its first day out. One issue is a dismal C+ CinemaScore from audiences, which comes on top of mostly withering reviews. McCarthy’s last comedy, The Heat, nabbed an A- CinemaScore, while Identity Thief earned a B.
Box-office observers still think Tammy‘s five-day debut could approach $37 million, on par with We’re the Millers‘ debut last summer. Warner Bros. and New Line insiders are being more cautious, suggesting $30 million to $35 million for Tammy.
On Wednesday night, Hollywood studios were having trouble tracking grosses because of a reporting glitch at giant exhibitor AMC. Sources said Thursday morning AMC numbers are now being reported at 100 percent.
Tammy, marking the feature directorial debut of McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, is a key test for the married duo as a filmmaking team. Co-written and produced by the pair, the $20 million road-trip comedy stars McCarthy as a fed-up burger joint worker who leaves her husband behind for a trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) to Niagara Falls.
The modestly budgeted movie also stars Falcone, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Toni Collette and Sandra Oh.
Tammy was one of four films opening Wednesday. The others were family film Earth to Echo, supernatural horror title Deliver Us From Evil and documentary America, from conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.
Deliver Us From Evil, from Screen Gems and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, placed No. 3 Wednesday with an estimated $2.9 million for a likely $15 million-plus five-day debut, less than expected. The movie earned a B+ CinemaScore.
The summer’s first studio horror film, Deliver Us From Evil is about a New York cop (Eric Bana) who teams with a renegade priest (Edgar Ramirez) schooled in exorcisms to eradicate a series of possessions striking New York City. The movie, directed by Scott Derrickson and costing roughly $30 million to produce, is inspired by the book co-written by real-life cop Ralph Sarchie.
Relativity Media hopes to ignite the family market with Earth to Echo, which placed No. 4 Wednesday with an estimated $2.7 million. Disney made the found-footage film about a tiny alien robot but put it into turnaround last summer. Relativity paid a modest $13 million to acquire the movie and do reshoots.
Pre-release tracking suggested Earth to Echo would cross $16 million for the five days. Among the new movies, it was received the best, garnering an A- CinemaScore.
A wild card is America, which expanded nationwide Wednesday after opening in Houston and Atlanta last weekend. America hopes to match the $6.5 million nationwide launch of D’Souza’s hit documentary 2016: Obama’s America two years ago. That film went on to become the No. 2 political documentary of all time with $33.4 million in ticket sales.
America opened outside the top 10 Wednesday, coming in at No. 11 with an estimated $644,000.
Lionsgate is distributing America, which debunks the narrative that the United States has been a force of evil across the world through a combination of historical re-creations and interviews with some of the country’s harshest critics.
John Carney‘s Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, expanded into a total of 175 theaters Wednesday, grossing a pleasing $163,000 and nabbing an A- CinemaScore for The Weinstein Co.
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