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Disney’s late-summer family film Christopher Robin — inspired by the classic children’s tale Winnie-the-Pooh — is expected to make the most honey among the new releases unfurling at the weekend box office, with a domestic debut in the high $20 million-$30 million range.
The film’s biggest competition will be Paramount holdover Mission: Impossible — Fallout, which debuted to a strong $61.2 million last weekend. If the Tom Cruise pic falls 50 percent or less in its sophomore outing, it could best Christopher Robin.
Disney’s live-action/CGI movie, directed by Marc Forster, stars Ewan McGregor as an overworked and stressed-out adult Christopher Robin, who has lost touch with his imagination. All that changes when his childhood friends — Winne-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and the rest of the gang — magically emerge from the Hundred Acre Wood.
Disney has a long history with the classic characters created by British author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard, beginning with the 1966 animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. That was followed by other shorts, several features and numerous direct-to-DVD titles.
Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael and Mark Gatiss star opposite McGregor, while the voice cast includes Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi and Sophie Okonedo.
Overseas, Christopher Robin will bow in a handful of markets, including Russia and Mexico.
Several other films are also set to open nationwide, including Lionsgate and Imagine Entertainment’s The Spy Who Dumped Me. Directed by Susanna Fogel, the R-rated action-comedy starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon is tracking to debut in the low- to mid-teen millions. (The spy genre continues to be challenging at the box office.) The story follows two friends who become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers that her ex-boyfriend is a spy. Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj, Ivanna Sakhno and Sam Heughan co-star.
For the first time since Deadpool 2 in mid-May, Fox enters the box-office fray with the YA film adaptation The Darkest Minds, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the acclaimed helmer of the last two Kung Fu Panda movies. The story follows a group of teens who mysteriously develop new abilities and are detained and declared a threat by the government. Sixteen-year-old Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) escapes and joins a growing resistance with other teens. Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech and Gwendoline Christie also star.
The fourth pic opening nationwide is the pro-Trump documentary Death of a Nation, from controversial conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was pardoned earlier this year by President Donald Trump after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance laws. Predictions are tough, as the doc — an unabashed screed against Democrats — is launching in far fewer theaters (1,002 locations) this weekend than the other releases. D’Souza’s last doc, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, grossed $4 million when expanding into a total of 1,217 theaters in its second weekend after first debuting in three theaters.
Death of a Nation presently has a 0 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes with six reviews posted.
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