‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Shoots for $20 Million Opening at Box Office

Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky” fizzles after experimenting with cheaper marketing strategies

Last Updated: August 19, 2017 @ 9:22 AM

Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” has taken advantage of weak competition at the August box office to take the No. 1 spot this weekend. The Samuel L. Jackson/Ryan Reynolds action comedy is estimated to make $20.5 million this weekend from 3,377 screens, performing on the upper end of the $17-20 million range set for the film by independent trackers.

The solid performance of “Hitman’s Bodyguard” ran against the new conventional wisdom in Hollywood that poor scores on Rotten Tomatoes can kill a film, as the star power of Jackson and Reynolds seems to have outweighed the film’s disappointing 39 percent score on the Tomatometer. Audiences also largely enjoyed the film, giving it a B+ on CinemaScore.

On the other hand, there’s Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street’s “Logan Lucky,” which received a 93 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes but will only make an estimated $8 million from 3,031 screens. Director Steven Soderbergh made waves in Hollywood in the lead-up to this film’s release with his plans to promote the film on a thrifty $20 million marketing budget. Soderbergh said in an interview with The New York Times that his strategy meant the film could have a $15 million opening and still be a success.

But despite a star-studded cast led by Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig — the latter of whom announced his return as James Bond in a “Late Show” appearance meant to promote this film — “Logan Lucky” will only reach half that target this weekend and is slated to finish in the No. 3 spot. The film received a B on CinemaScore.

Currently slotted alongside the two new releases in the top five are a pair of holdovers from Warner Bros. In the second spot is WB/New Line’s “Annabelle: Creation,” which is looking at a 59 percent drop-off from its $35 million opening with a $14.5 million second weekend. That result would put the “Annabelle” prequel at $63 million after ten days, about three percent ahead of the pace of its 2014 predecessor. The strong first week of this horror film also puts the “Conjuring”  cinematic universe it is a part of at over $1 billion in lifetime grosses. In third is “Dunkirk,” which is neck-and-neck with “Logan Lucky” for the No. 3 spot with $7.5 million in its fifth weekend.

Completing the top five is Open Road’s “The Nut Job 2,” which is estimated to make $6 million in its second weekend to bring its ten-day total to $18.5 million, a staggering 54 percent drop from the $40 million made by the first “Nut Job” after two weekends. Down the list, Universal’s “Girls Trip,” which became the first comedy of 2017 to pass the $100 million domestic mark, is looking at a fifth weekend total of $3.8 million, while TWC’s “Wind River,” which expanded nationwide to 694 screens, is sitting in tenth with $3.2 million.