Box-Office Preview: Can 'Tomb Raider' Dethrone 'Black Panther'?
Faith-based film 'I Can Only Imagine' and terrorist drama '7 Days in Entebbe' also open nationwide.
Will Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider — a reboot of the film franchise from the early 2000s that was headlined by Angelina Jolie — be the movie to finally dethrone superhero sensation Black Panther?
Opening in more than 3,700 theaters, Tomb Raider is tracking to debut between $23 million and $25 million at the North American box office this weekend.
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther also looks likely to earn $25 million or so in its fifth outing. If it stays atop the chart, the Disney and Marvel superhero blockbuster will be the first film since Avatar eight years ago to prevail for five consecutive weekends.
From Warner Bros. and MGM, Tomb Raider hopes to restart the film series that centers on Lara Croft, an adventurous and fearless archaeologist (the video game upon which the movie franchise is based saw a major overhaul in 2013). This time out, Croft embarks on a dangerous journey to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance. Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (The Wave) directed the $90 million pic, which co-stars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas.
The first film in the original franchise, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, opened to a rousing $47.7 million in June 2001 (and more than $77 million when adjusted for inflation), while the sequel, Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life, debuted to just $21 million two years later.
The new Tomb Raider is making a major push overseas this weekend timed to its U.S. launch, including in China and a slew of other markets. It earned a promising $14 million-plus last weekend as it rolled out early in select Asian territories.
A Wrinkle in Time, which bowed to a muted $33.1 million in North America last weekend, hopes to suffer only a small drop due to it being the only broad family film in the marketplace.
Among other new offerings besides Tomb Raider, Fox will open YA adaptation Love, Simon, the first film from a major Hollywood studio featuring a gay teen protagonist. Greg Berlanti directed the Fox 2000 dramedy, which stars Nick Robinson as Simon Spier, a closeted high schooler who tries to find out the identity of an anonymous classmate he's fallen in love with online. Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner co-star in the $17 million feature, which will get a berth in more than 2,400 locations.
Fox is projecting an opening in the $10 million-$12 million range for Love, Simon, but other box-office observers think it could climb higher. (The movie has been embraced by critics.)
Getting an early jump on Easter, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate will open the faith-based film I Can Only Imagine in more than 1,600 cinemas. The $7 million pic stars J. Michael Finley, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, who wrote the song "I Can Only Imagine," the best-selling Christian single of all time. Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman also star in the true-life story, which is tracking to open in the $3 million-$5 million range, with plenty of room for upside.
Finally, Focus Features will debut 7 Days in Entebbe in roughly 800 theaters. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike star as German radicals in Jose Padilha's thriller about the 1976 rescue of hostages from a hijacked Air France flight diverted to Uganda. Working Title and StudioCanal produced the pic, which made its world premiere in February at the Berlin International Film Festival.
So far, 7 Days in Entebbe — which wasn't surveyed by tracking services — has been snubbed by critics and currently shows a 14 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with 90 percent for Love, Simon and 51 percent for Tomb Raider. (Reviews haven't yet hit for I Can Only Imagine.)