“Ghostbusters” grossed a solid $3.4 million in its box office previews on Thursday night.
The franchise reboot from Sony is on pace to earn about $40 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates.
With substantial Internet buzz and generally strong reviews from critics — it currently has a 73 percent “certified fresh” score on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes — the female-fronted flick has long been on pace for a good first frame.
But how big will it be?
While some analysts see the movie approaching a $50 million take from Friday to Sunday, the studio’s prediction for the weekend is a bit more conservative.
Even if “Ghostbusters” surpasses the more humble forecasts of around $38 million, the reboot will easily crack the top five sci-fi comedy openings of all time — and it could come close to passing Universal’s “Nutty Professor II,” which opened at $42.5 million in 2000, for the No. 4 spot.
Made on a production budget of $144 million and set to play on 3,950 screens, “Ghostbusters” — which features Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon, who tackle a whole new haunting in New York City — does have some work ahead to justify its price tag and could also benefit from a boost in additional international ticket sales.
But since people are loving last weekend’s champ, Illumination-Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets,” which is expected to come in at around $55 million on its second go-round at the box office, “Ghostbusters” has no easy road to the No. 1 spot.
Even still, the Paul Feig-directed movie should become the highest grossing live-action comedy in more than a year. It is positioned to easily top the $33.5 million opening of Universal’s “Ted 2” in June 2015.