The dog days have arrived at the summer box office.
There are no new superheroes, sequels or kids films. The weekend’s two widest openers — Sony’s “Premium Rush” and “Hit and Run” from Open Road — are not expected to challenge for the top spot. There’s even a chance a documentary, “2016 Obama’s America,” will crack the top ten.
Last week’s No. 1 film, “Expendables 2” will keep the top spot with around $14 million, industry analysts say.
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After that, it will be a scramble between “Bourne Legacy,” which is in its third week, the two new wide openers and “ParaNorman” for the next several slots. All are projected to be in the $10 million range for the three days.
“Hit and Run," which opened Wednesday to $625,000, is expected to gross around $8 million. Dax Shepherd's comedy cost $2 million excluding marketing costs.
“Premium Rush,” which Sony is rolling out on 2,100 screens, is an intriguing offering. The plot couldn’t be much simpler: A bicycle messenger, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is chased around New York City by a dirty cop who wants an envelope that the messenger is carrying.
It’s directed by David Koepp, who teamed with John Kamps on the screenplay. Koepp is best known as the writer behind a number of blockbusters, including “Jurassic Park,” “Mission Impossible” and “Spider-Man.” He’s also a part of the writing team on Paramount’s upcoming and still untitled Jack Ryan project starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightly.
“Premium Rush,” however, has more in common with another film written by Koepp, 2002’s “Panic Room. In that one, directed by David Fincher and starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart as a mother and daughter who take refuge in a safe room during a break-in.
For Gordon-Levitt, coming off his “Dark Knight Rises” supporting role, “Premium Rush” provides an opportunity to establish himself as a box office force. Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung co-star.
Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road is opening the romantic action comedy “Hit and Run” on 2,700 screens, making it the weekend’s widest opener.
Dax Shepard (TV’s “Parenthood”), Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth and Beau Bridges star in the Primate Pictures production. It tells the tale of Charlie Bronson (Shepard), a nice guy with a questionable past who risks everything when he busts out of the witness protection program to deliver his fiancé (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles to seize a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity.
Also read: 'Hit and Run' Review: Promising Comedy Falls Just Short of the Finishing Line
Shephard wrote the screenplay and shares directing duties with David Palmer. This is the second collaboration for the duo, who also co-directed 2010’s “Brother’s Justice.”
The weekend’s other wide opener is “Apparition,” a PG-13 thriller from Warner Bros.
Todd Lincoln wrote it and makes his feature directorial debut with the film, in which a couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment. It stars Ashley Greene (“Twilight”), Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) and Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”).
Warner Bros. has it in roughly 800 locations.
A wildcard in the weekend mix is the anti-Barack Obama documentary, “2016: Obama’s America.” It’s based on a book by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”
Rocky Mountain Pictures is aggressively expanding the film, which purports to detail what will happen should the president be elected to a second term, into 1,075 theaters.
That’s a big jump from the 169 theaters it played in last week, when it brought in $1.2 million, a $7,393 per-screen average.
The timing is right, with the Republican National Convention opening Monday in Tampa, Fla. Advance ticket sales were brisk according to online ticket broker Fandango, which reported that the documentary was outselling "The Expendables 2" on Wednesday.