“Pixels,” the video game comedy starring Adam Sandler, claimed the top spot at the box office Friday with about $9 million in its debut for Sony Pictures. That was better than the roughly $7 million that reigning champ “Ant-Man” managed, but the Marvel superhero romp and “Pixels” are both heading for weekend totals of around $25 million.
That’s better news for “Ant-Man,” which is in its second week for Disney, than it is for the Christopher Columbus-directed “Pixels,” Sony’s only tentpole movie this summer. The lack of a breakout at the domestic box office means that a strong overseas showing will be needed for the effects-heavy $88 million comedy that co-stars Josh Gad and Kevin James to turn a profit. The good news for the studio, which has struggled and is last among the majors in market share for the year, is that early returns from abroad looked good.
“Southpaw,” the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing movie that is the first release from the Weinstein Co. in nearly four months, and “Paper Towns,” the teen-targeting John Green adaptation from Fox, were in a close battle for fourth. Both took in a little over $6 million and were heading for weekends in the $15 million range, behind the animated “Minions,” which is just behind the leaders and on the way to a $23 million third weekend for Illumination Entertainment and Universal.
“Southpaw” was projected to finish in the low-teen millions by analysts, who saw “Paper Towns” heading for the high-teens. The last adaptation of a Green novel, “The Fault In Our Stars,” brought in $26 million on its first Friday, on the way to a stunning $48 million debut weekend last summer. Like that film, “Paper Towns” has a lean $12 million production budget however, which means it will wind up in the black.
The overall box office was running roughly even with last year’s comparable weekend, easing concerns that moviegoers would stay home in the wake of Thursday’s deadly attack in a Lafayette, La., movie theater, in which gunman John Russell Houser shot 11 and killed two before fatally turning the weapon on himself.
“Southpaw” received an “A” CinemaScore from first-night audiences, “Paper Towns” got a “B+” and “Pixels” got a “B.”
Universal’s “Trainwreck,” the R-rated comedy starring Amy Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, brought in $5.3 million Friday and is expected to be a date-night choice on Saturday night. It should finish in the same $15 million range as “Southpaw” and “Paper Towns”
Pixar Animation’s “Inside Out” had the best hold of any returning film, and is looking at a $7 million sixth weekend after falling just 37 percent from last Friday with $2.2 million. “Jurassic World,” Roadside Attractions’ “Mr. Holmes” and “Terminator: Genysis” rounded out the top ten.
“Mr. Holmes,” the drama based on the classic sleuth starring Iam McKellan and Laura Linney, averaged around $4,000 in 686 theaters, up from 325 last weekend.
“Magic Mike: XXL” fell out of the top ten on Friday and will take in roughly $2 million in its fourth week. That would leave the R-rated stripper tale with less than $65 million domestically after four weeks for Warner Bros.