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It is bombs away at the Friday box office, where four out of five new films are badly struggling, according to early returns.
Universal holdover The Fate of the Furious easily remains in the driver’s seat as it races past the $900 million mark globally. The eighth outing in the action franchise grossed $11.2 million Friday from 4,329 theaters for a projected $35 million weekend, putting it’s domestic total at $160.4 million.
Overseas, Fate will finish up the weekend with more than $750 million in foreign ticket sales — including $327 million in China alone — for a global haul north of $900 million.
Among the weekend’s new movies, Warner Bros.’ female-centric thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl, grossed $1.7 million Friday from 2,417 locations for a forgettable $4 million-$5 million debut. If it comes in on the lower end, it could mark the lowest start of Heigl’s career in terms of a major studio title.
Helmed by veteran producer Denise Di Novi in her feature directorial debut, Unforgettable stars Heigl as a jilted woman whose jealousy of her ex-husband’s new wife turns pathological. Rosario Dawson and Geoff Stults also star in the film, which cost a modest $12 million to make.
While Unforgettable‘s financial exposure is limited, the same can’t be said for director Terry George’s Armenian genocide drama The Promise, starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. The $100 million movie is projected to earn $4 million-$4.5 million from 2,251 million theaters for the weekend.
The Promise was fully financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian , who was of Armenian descent. Produced by his Survival Pictures, It is the first major U.S. film to address the massacre of Armenians during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. Open Road is handling The Promise domestically.
Disney’s nature documentary Born in China — the one new offering that’s holding its own — could beat The Promise with $4.5 million from 1,508 theaters.
The forecast is likewise grim for the two other new films opening this weekend, action-comedy Free Fire and sci-fi thriller Phoenix Forgotten.
Phoenix Forgotten, expected to open south of $2 million from 1,592 cinemas, tells the story of three teenagers who disappear after trying to solve the mystery behind the 1997 UFO phenomenon knows as the Phoenix Lights. Ridley Scott, Wes Ball, Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton produced the movie, with Cinelou distributing.
British helmer Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, a send-up of vintage action movies, is projected to open in the $1 million range from 1,070 theaters for indie distributor A24. The pic stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor.
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