Chiller ‘As Above, So Below’ Tries to Put Scare Into ‘Guardians’ at Box Office

The micro-budget thriller will be first Legendary Pictures release under its new deal with Universal

The micro-budgeted thriller “As Above/So Below” joins the Labor Day weekend fray on Friday, but the summer’s final box-office weekend will likely look a lot like the last one.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are a good bet to repeat as the top two films, with around $15 million over the four days. Relativity Media’s Pierce Brosnan spy thriller “November Man,” which opened Wednesday, and “As Above, So Below” are expected to finish in the $10 million range.

“As Above, So Below” is the first Legendary Pictures film to be released under its new partnership with Universal Pictures, after the film company ended its long-running deal with Warner Bros. last summer.

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“We’re really happy to be in business with Legendary, and this should be a fun one to start with,” Universal’s distribution chief Nikki Rocco said Wednesday.

“As Above/So Below” is the first foray into the horror thriller genre for Legendary, and its $5 million production budget is a departure as well. Thomas Tull‘s film company has built its reputation with big-budget blockbusters like “Godzilla,” “Man of Steel” and the “Batman” and “Hangover” movies.

Universal’s marketing team has proven it knows how to make a low-budget creeper work. It scored this summer with “The Purge: Anarchy,” a $9 million Blumhouse Productions sequel that has taken in more than $102 million globally. That was latest in a series of hits the studio has had with horrormeister Jason Blum, the producer behind franchises including “Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious,” “The Purge” and “Sinister.”

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Legendary and Universal’s promotional campaign has been data-driven and largely digitally-based rather than TV-focused, and designed to maximize impact with horror fans and Hispanic moviegoers, who are the primary demographic targets.

Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and Edwin Hodge star in “As Above, So Below,” which follows a team of explorers that uncovers a dark secret in the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris. It was written by Drew Dowdle (“Quarantine,” “Devil”) and John Erick Dowdle, who directs. Tull, Jon Jashni, Patrick Aiello and Drew Dowdle produce, and Alex Hedlund is the executive producer.

Universal will have “As Above/So Below” in 2,637 theaters nationwide.

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The studio is also handling the overseas release. “As Above, So Below” has opened in Belgium, France and French-speaking Switzerland and has grossed $$1 million overseas. The film also opens this weekend in the U.K. And four smaller markets, with the foreign roll-out scheduled to continue through November.

Sony will release the 30th Anniversary of “Ghostbusters” in 775 theaters over the weekend. The limited engagement corresponds with a new 4K remaster of the film for a special edition Blu-Ray release hitting shelves on September 16th.