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‘Death on the Nile’ Sails to $1.1 Million at Thursday Box Office

”Marry Me“ with Jennifer Lopez also earned $525,000 in its previews ahead of Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day weekend

“Death on the Nile,” Kenneth Branagh’s follow-up to the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Murder on the Orient Express,” brought in $1.1 million in its box office previews that began at 5 p.m. Thursday. It opens on 3,280 screens this weekend.

20th Century’s “Death on the Nile” will also open alongside “Marry Me,” Universal’s rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, which brought in $525,000 in its previews from 2,700 screens, beginning at 5 p.m. It opens on 3,642 screens this weekend and also debuts Friday on streamer Peacock.

“Death on the Nile’s” preview total is also inclusive of early access screenings that took place on Wednesday, in IMAX, Premium Large Format screens and 70mm screens.

Both “Death on the Nile” and “Marry Me” have to contend with the Super Bowl, and “Death on the Nile,” which was shot in 2019 but was delayed during the pandemic, has been sitting on the shelf for so long that one of its stars, Armie Hammer, has produced another PR liability for the studio in the interim.

That said, “Death on the Nile” is projected by independent trackers for an opening between $11-13 million. That would be less than half of the opening of its predecessor, “Murder on the Orient Express,” which opened to $28.6 million in November 2017 and in its previews made $1.6 million. That film ultimately grossed $352 million worldwide. The studio is also hopeful though that “Death on the Nile” will benefit from the longer President’s Day weekend in its second week and from foot traffic on Valentine’s Day.

Kenneth Branagh returns to direct “Nile” and also star as Agatha Christie’s iconic detective Hercule Poirot, this time investigating a murder on a glamorous river steamer traversing the Nile river in Egypt during a couple’s idyllic honeymoon that turns tragic. The film stars Gal Gadot and Branagh alongside Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright. It currently has a 63% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

For a comp for “Marry Me,” Universal released “The Photograph” over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2020, and it brought in $650,000 before opening to $12.1 million. “Marry Me” is projected for a $9-10 million opening.

“Marry Me” stars Jennifer Lopez as a pop superstar who is set to get married in a mega concert event live on stage to a Latin music sensation (Maluma). But when she discovers that her fiancé has been unfaithful, she pulls an unsuspecting math teacher played by Owen Wilson out of the crowd and marries him instead. Kat Coiro directs the film from a screenplay by John Rogers & Tami Sagher and Harper Dill based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby. It’s described as a modern love story about celebrity, marriage and social media, and it currently has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes and opens day-and-date on Peacock.

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