There was a big appetite among moviegoers to spend the Fourth of July watching the most political “Purge” film yet. Universal/Blumhouse’s prequel “The First Purge” opened on Wednesday to $9.4 million, which includes $2.5 million from Thursday previews.
While the July 4 opening date was set in part as an ironic play on the film’s themes of corruption and violence in America, it also allowed the film some time in theaters before the arrival of Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which is expected to easily take the No. 1 spot this weekend. As a horror alternative, “The First Purge” is expected to make $25-30 million over five days against a reported $13 million budget.
Given the competition, weekend totals aren’t expected to exceed the $31.5 million made by the previous “Purge” installment, “Election Year,” from its traditional release two years ago. Critics and opening night audiences enjoyed “First Purge” a little less than its predecessor, giving it a 49 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- on CinemaScore ,compared to 53 percent and a B+ for “Election Year.”
In a summer that has largely belonged to Disney, it was Universal that had the lion’s share of the holiday box office. Along with “First Purge,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” took the top spot on the daily charts with $11.5 million. The blockbuster sequel should pass $300 million domestic on Thursday and cross $1 billion worldwide this weekend.
As for Disney, “Incredibles 2” added $9.7 million, putting the film $18 million away from setting a new domestic record for animated films by passing the $486 million made by “Finding Dory.”