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Houston, we have lift off.
Christopher Nolan‘s space epic Interstellar and Disney’s animated family film Big Hero 6 could both approach $60 million in their North American debuts over the Nov. 7-9 weekend in a major win for Hollywood as the year-end holiday season approaches (it also portends a close race).
Tracking suggests a range of $50 million to $60 million for each, but most box office observers are betting on the high end. Either way, they could find themselves in a close race.
Interstellar, which opens in select theaters two weeks from now on Nov. 5 before rolling out everywhere Nov. 7, is generating at least as much interest as last year’s space epic Gravity, which opened to $55.8 million. Nolan, architect of The Dark Knight trilogy, is far more of a known brand than Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron was when Gravity was released.
Nolan’s last movie, Inception, launched to $62.8 million domestically in July 2010, but Paramount insiders caution that Inception had the advantage of playing in summer. Paramount partnered with Warner Bros. on Interstellar, which cost $165 million to make (Nolan reportedly came in $10 million under budget).
Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as astronauts trying to save the human race. The ensemble cast also includes Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. Paramount is handling the movie domestically, while Warners has overseas duties.
Big Hero 6, likewise a sci-fi tale that opens Nov. 7, hopes to continue Disney Animation Studios’ winning streak at the box office following last year’s Frozen. Inspired by Marvel characters, the film follows the adventures of six superheroes who are recruited by the government to protect the nation. Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller, Maya Rudolph, Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell and Alan Tudyk lend their voices to the movie.
Last year, Frozen debuted to $67.4 million over Thanksgiving weekend.
Another title generating strong interest is sequel Dumb and Dumber To, according to early tracking. The Farrelly brothers’ sequel, reuniting Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, opens Nov. 14 and could open to $30 million or more. Universal is releasing the comedy on behalf of Red Granite Pictures.
A week after that, the holiday season officially gets underway when Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I opens Nov. 21.
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