Box Office Preview: 'Dark Phoenix' Tracking for $50M, 'Pets' to Dig Up $60M

Dark Phoenix-The Secret Life of Pets 2-Publicity Stills-Split-H 2019
Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox; Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

Opening at the specialty box office are Amazon Studios' 'Late Night' and Ron Howard's 'Pavarotti.'

Dark Phoenix, the last chapter in the 19-year X-Men film franchise, is tracking for a North American opening in the $50 million range. The title is the first X-Men movie from Disney, which is releasing it nationwide in 3,700 theaters.

Longtime X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg makes his directorial debut with the franchise installment that sees Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) turn into her evolved form, with newfound powers that tear the team apart. Dark Phoenix features the return of team members like Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Professor X (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

The movie has had a poor response from critics and currently sits at a 21 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The previous X-Men installment, Apocalypse, bowed to $65 million. Dark Phoenix is tracking to have one of the lowest debuts for an X-Men film, with 2013's Wolverine currently holding that mark with a $53.1 million opening weekend.

Also bowing in theaters this weekend is Illumination and Universal's The Secret Life of Pets 2, which will open on 4,400 screens stateside. Tracking for a launch in the $50 million-$60 million range, the animated family film, which currently sits at a 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, will likely win the weekend.

Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Jenny Slate and Patton Oswalt voice star as a menagerie of family pets that get into various types of mischief while their owners are away.

While the sequel is set to debut below the 2016 original's massive $104.3 million, that pic was a box office anomaly and still holds the record for the highest-grossing opening ever for an original film. The movie went on to take in $875.4 million at the global box office.

Bowing at four locations in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, Mindy Kaling's Late Night will be making its theatrical debut. Amazon picked up the U.S. rights to the comedy out of this year's Sundance for $13 million. The comedy-drama, which sits at an 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, follows a talk show host (Emma Thompson) who tries to become more current by hiring a diverse writer (Kaling).

Also opening at the specialty box office is CBS Films' Pavarotti, which will debut on 19 screens in several markets across North America before expanding in its second and third weeks toward an estimated 200 screens. Ron Howard directed the documentary, which features interviews and performances from the late legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.