Box Office: 'Fantastic Four' Flames Out Friday for Projected $28M Debut

Fantastic Four Trailer Still - H 2015

The superhero tentpole could lose the weekend to 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation'; elsewhere, Joel Edgerton's directorial debut 'The Gift' pulls ahead of Meryl Streep starrer 'Ricki and the Flash.'

Controversial director Josh Trank's Fantastic Four is off to a dismal start at the North American box office, where it's headed for one of the lowest openings for a Hollywood studio superhero title.

Playing in 3,995 theaters, Fantastic Four opened to $11.3 million Friday for a projected weekend gross of $28 million, putting the movie in an unexpectedly close race with holdover Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, starring Tom Cruise, for the box-office crown.

Fantastic Four's showing is a blow for Fox as it goes about trying to reboot one of its marquee franchises. The movie is no doubt being hurt by scathing reviews and a C- CinemaScore, as well as drama whipped up by the director. On Thursday, Trank tweeted that the final version of the superhero was not his own and that his version would have gotten better notices. (He later deleted the tweet.) Fox has not commented on Trank's barb.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed in May that Trank's behavior and unusual conduct on set was a cause of great concern for the studio and producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker. There were also reshoots to shore up the third act, according to insiders.

Heading into the weekend, Fantastic Four was expected to clear at least $40 million, although many expected it to approach $50 million.

Fantastic Four's debut is coming in well behind the first two films, Fantastic Four ($56.1 million) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer ($58.1 million). The $120 million film, starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, will mark one of the worst debuts for a Marvel Comics film adaptation. In 2012, Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance, from Sony, launched to $22.1 million (that movie cost notably less to make).

In terms of a big-budget superhero movie, Marvel or otherwise, the last studio film to open to less than $40 million was The Green Hornet in 2011 with $33.5 million.

Elsewhere, The Gift, Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, looks to beat the Meryl Streep-starring Ricki and the Flash with a $10 million-$11 million debut, putting it at No. 3 (The Gift is playing in many more theaters). Both are competing for female attention.

Streep returns to theaters as a rocker with dashed dreams and a troubled family life in Sony's Ricki and the Flash. Jonathan Demme's film, costing $18 million, is only opening in 1,603 theaters and grossed $2.3 million Friday for a projected $7.2 million debut. That's one of the lowest nationwide openings for a Streep film. The movie, which could come in No. 7, intends to grow its theater count in the coming weeks, and hopes to be a draw for adults.

Ricki nabbed a solid theater average of $1,403 Friday.

The Gift — a throwback to psychological thrillers including Fatal Attraction — is the first test for Bob Simonds' STX Entertainment. The movie, boosted by stellar reviews and grossing $4.1 million on Friday, is playing in 2,503 theaters. Edgerton also stars in the Blumhouse film as a man with an unhealthy fixation on an old schoolmate (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall).

Both Ricki and The Gift received B CinemaScores.

This weekend's fourth new offering is animated film Shaun the Sheep, from Aardman Entertainment and Lionsgate. A spinoff of the hugely successful, dialogue-free British TV series, the film, which opened Wednesday and earned a B+ CinemaScore, may not even crack the top 10 with an estimated weekend take of $4 million from 2,320 theaters and a five-day total of roughly $5.5 million.

Back in the top 10, Vacation is tipped to come in No. 2 in its second weekend with an estimated $8.6 million for a domestic total $36 million through  Sunday. Disney and Marvel Studios' Ant-Man should follow with roughly $8 million for a domestic cume of approximately $150 million, while Universal and Illumination Entertainment's Minions will jump the $300 million mark domestically this weekend.

2:30 p.m., Aug. 7 Updated with additional information. 

9:15 p.m., Aug. 7 Updated with additional information.

7:45 a.m., Aug. 8 Updated with Friday numbers.