Warner Bros. will have a 1-2 finish at the box office this weekend, as their acclaimed romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” is estimated to hold off their monster movie “The Meg.”
Both films are looking at weekend totals in the low $20 million range, with “Crazy Rich Asians” projected by industry estimates to take the top spot with $22 million in its opening weekend.
Released on 3,384 screens on Wednesday, Jon M. Chu’s acclaimed romantic comedy made $8.7 million in its first two days in theaters and added $7.2 million on Friday for a $16 million three-day total and an estimated $31 million five-day opening against a $30 million budget.
While independent trackers expected a $25 million five-day start, analysts told TheWrap earlier in the week that $30 million-plus was very likely, making this the best opening for a romantic comedy since the three-day, $31 million opening for Amy Schumer’s “Trainwrecked” in 2015.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is the first Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast and director since “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993. That film had a domestic run of $32 million, which after inflation adjusts to $73 million.
“Crazy Rich Asians” will easily pass that total, as it holds critical acclaim with a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and “A”s across all age demographics on CinemaScore. According to comScore’s PostTrak system, Asian-American audiences — which account for six percent of domestic ticket sales according to the MPAA — have made up 38 percent of the film’s opening audience.
“The Meg,” which finished its opening weekend with its long-term theatrical profitability still uncertain, seems to have found the traction it needs at the box office with a $20 million second weekend, which brings its 10-day total to $82.5 million and pushes its global total past $250 million.
In third is STX’s Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg action film “Mile 22,” which is falling below tracker expectations with a $14 million start from 3,520 screens. Pre-weekend projections had this $35 million CIA action film making $17 million in its opening.
With this start, “Mile 22” would rank third among the four action films Berg and Wahlberg have made together, beating the $11.6 million for “Patriots Day” but 63 percent down from their most successful project together, “Lone Survivor,” which opened to $37.8 million in 2013. It has failed to earn positive reception from critics and audiences, earning a 20 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a B- on CinemaScore.
Finally, there’s Sony’s “Alpha,” which is competing with Disney’s “Christopher Robin” for the final spot in the top five. Even if it wins that head-to-head battle, “Alpha” is going to flop hard with a $9.5 million opening from 2,719 against a reported $50 million budget.
Critics have praised “Alpha” as a tougher, more primal take on the “boy and his dog” story, giving it an 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. But audiences have given it a B+ on CinemaScore, and there are no signs that word-of-mouth is going to pick up sales any time soon.