"Expendables 2" is on track to keep its No. 1 spot in what's shaping up as one of the summer's slowest box office weekends.
Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the gang took in an estimated $3.7 million Friday. That puts the action thriller on pace for a $12.7 million second weekend.
That would be more than more 60 percent off the debut weekend of the Millenium Entertainment sequel distributed by Lionsgate, but good enough to win a weekend devoid of the superhero spectaculars and tentpole movies that have marked most of the summer.
“2016: Obama’s America,” the documentary based on conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” brought in $2.2 million from 1,075 screens Friday. Its per-screen average was $2,085, best of any wide release.
That means a weekend of around $6 million for the film, which Rocky Mountain Pictures expanded in its seventh week to take advantage of the buzz around the Republican National Convention.
It did better than the wide openers. Just about every film performance's was weaker than expected on Friday, and attendance looks considerably down from the same weekend last year.
Sony's "Premium Rush" brought in a soft $2 million from 2,100 locations and looks to come in at around $6 million for the three days. It received a "B" CinemaScore, "A-" from moviegoers under 18.
Open Road's "Hit and Run" took in $1.4 million from 2,870 locations, which puts its on track for a $3.9 million weekend, and projects to about $4.7 million for the five days since it opened Wednesday.
The other opener, Warner Bros.' supernatural thriller "The Apparition," managed just $1.1 million from 880 screens, which projects to a $2.8 million weekend.
Universal's "Bourne Legacy" is on track to finish No. 2 after a $2.7 million Friday, which projects to an $9 million weekend. Its overall gross stands at $85 million.
"ParaNorman," the stop-action animated film from Focus Features, did $2.3 million and will finish with around $7.5 million for the weekend.
In its sixth week, Warner Bros.' "Dark Knight Rises" took in $2 million Friday and should finish with around $7 million for the three days.
"Hope Springs" passed the $40 million mark in overall grosses with a $1.75 million Friday.
The dog days have arrived at the summer box office.
There are no new superheroes, sequels or kids films. The weekend’s two widest feature openers -- Sony’s “Premium Rush” and “Hit and Run” from Open Road -- are not expected to challenge for the top spot. There’s even a chance a documentary, “2016 Obama’s America,” will crack the top ten.
Last week’s No. 1 film, “Expendables 2” will keep the top spot with around $14 million, industry analysts say.
After that, it will be a scramble between “Bourne Legacy,” which is in its third week, the two new wide openers and “ParaNorman” for the next several slots. All are projected to be in the $10 million range for the three days.
“Hit and Run," which opened Wednesday to $625,000, is expected to gross around $8 million. Dax Shepherd's comedy cost $2 million excluding marketing costs.
“Premium Rush,” which Sony is rolling out on 2,100 screens, is an intriguing offering. The plot couldn’t be much simpler: A bicycle messenger, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is chased around New York City by a dirty cop who wants an envelope that the messenger is carrying.
It’s directed by David Koepp, who teamed with John Kamps on the screenplay. Koepp is best known as the writer behind a number of blockbusters, including “Jurassic Park,” “Mission Impossible” and “Spider-Man.” He’s also a part of the writing team on Paramount’s upcoming and still untitled Jack Ryan project starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightly.
“Premium Rush,” however, has more in common with another film written by Koepp, 2002’s “Panic Room. In that one, directed by David Fincher and starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart as a mother and daughter who take refuge in a safe room during a break-in.
For Gordon-Levitt, coming off his “Dark Knight Rises” supporting role, “Premium Rush” provides an opportunity to establish himself as a box office force. Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung co-star.
Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road is opening the romantic action comedy “Hit and Run” on 2,700 screens, making it the weekend’s widest opener.
Dax Shepard (TV’s “Parenthood”), Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth and Beau Bridges star in the Primate Pictures production. It tells the tale of Charlie Bronson (Shepard), a nice guy with a questionable past who risks everything when he busts out of the witness protection program to deliver his fiancé (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles to seize a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity.
Shephard wrote the screenplay and shares directing duties with David Palmer. This is the second collaboration for the duo, who also co-directed 2010’s “Brother’s Justice.”
The weekend’s other wide opener is “Apparition,” a PG-13 thriller from Warner Bros.
Todd Lincoln wrote it and makes his feature directorial debut with the film, in which a couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment. It stars Ashley Greene (“Twilight”), Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) and Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”).
Warner Bros. has it in roughly 800 locations.
A wildcard in the weekend mix is the anti-Barack Obama documentary, “2016: Obama’s America.” It’s based on a book by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”
Rocky Mountain Pictures is aggressively expanding the film, which purports to detail what will happen should the president be elected to a second term, into 1,075 theaters.
That’s a big jump from the 169 theaters it played in last week, when it brought in $1.2 million, a $7,393 per-screen average.
The timing is right, with the Republican National Convention opening Monday in Tampa, Fla. Advance ticket sales were brisk according to online ticket broker Fandango, which reported that the documentary was outselling "The Expendables 2" on Wednesday.