Paramount’s sci-fi epic “Arrival” is zeroing in on a solid debut at the box office, after the film took home $1.45 million in Thursday previews at 1,944 locations.
That should put the movie on track for a $17 million opening, although the studio is projecting a more cautious mid-teens number. It will play on 2,317 screens. An opening weekend in that mid-teens range would put the film on a trajectory comparable to “Bridge of Spies,” which had a $15 million opening and proceeded to earn $72 million.
The film stars Amy Adams as a linguistics expert who uses her talents to try to communicate with the inhabitants of an alien spacecraft – at great personal risk to her. “Arrival” also features Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mark O’Brien. Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”) directed the movie.
While Disney-Marvel holdover “Doctor Strange” is almost certain to repeat atop the box office this weekend, “Arrival” should benefit from plenty of critical acclaim. It has a stellar 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal’s holiday comedy “Almost Christmas” was the only other film that had Thursday night preview showings this week, from which it reeled in $507,000.
Experts are projecting the movie to come in just below “Arrival” with a $16 million opening weekend. Universal is taking a more conservative view, expecting something in the low-to-mid-teens.
The comedy features Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Jessie Usher and DC Young Fly. It was written and directed by David E. Talbert (“Baggage Claim”).
“Almost Christmas” was produced for $17 million and is opening in 2,372 theaters.
It stars Glover as the patriarch of a family, a retired auto engineer, who invites his four grown children and their brood to his home for a five-day holiday gathering. He just has one wish: that they all get along.
The film is tracking strongest among African-American women, who also made “Boo! A Madea Halloween” a surprise hit. The Tyler Perry movie beat out “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and “Ouija: Origin of Evil” to win its opening weekend and has already made $67 million on a $20 million budget.
“Almost Christmas” won’t, however, benefit from critical acclaim: its Rotten Tomatoes score is just 43 percent.