Universal Pictures’ “First Man” grossed $1.1 million in previews on Thursday from 2,850 theaters, of which $370,000 came from IMAX screens.
The studio is projecting an opening weekend of $15-18 million, with independent trackers pushing their expectations up to $20 million. In comparison, Tom Hanks’ “Bridge of Spies” took in $600,000 before it grossed $15.4 million its opening weekend. “Deepwater Horizon” earned $860,000 and finished with $20.2 million. “Arrival” grossed $1.4 million in previews before earning $24 million its opening weekend.
“First Man” is the followup for director Damien Chazelle after winning the Oscar for Best Director for “La La Land” last year, with Ryan Gosling from his “La La Land” team joining him.
Based on James R. Hansen’s detailed recounting of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, “First Man” stars Gosling as Neil Armstrong and delves into the personal life and inner mind of the famous yet very reserved astronaut, particularly how the death of his infant daughter impacted him. Claire Foy also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet. Josh Singer, who co-wrote “Spotlight” and “The Post,” penned the screenplay.
Produced for $60 million, “First Man” holds a “fresh” score of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
“First Man” will face off against Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” and “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” this weekend. The former is set to open in the low-to-mid teens, while the latter is looking at a $14 million opening after taking in $750,000 from 2,993 locations.
“El Royale” features an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, and Nick Offerman as a group of individuals who check in to the seedy El Royale hotel on the border of California and Nevada. Soon, secrets are revealed and bullets fly as everything goes horribly wrong.
Drew Goddard wrote and directed the film. It is rated 75 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Goosebumps 2” has Jack Black return to reprise his role as a fictionalized version of Stine, with “It” star Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Ken Jeong also starring. Produced for $35 million, “Goosebumps 2” was directed by Ari Sandel and holds a score of 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.