J.J. Abrams’ ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Strong but Won’t Spook ‘Zootopia’ at Box Office

Disney Animation hit heads for $50 million in second weekend. Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Brothers Grimsby” is DOA and “The Young Messiah” will need a miracle

Last Updated: March 12, 2016 @ 10:42 AM

The J.J. Abrams-produced low-budget horror movie “10 Cloverfield Lane” took in a better-than-expected $9 million in its debut Friday for Paramount Pictures and could hit $25 million in its opening weekend at the North American box office.

But the Disney Animation hit “Zootopia” should nonetheless claim its second weekend win with a huge $50 million — just a 32 percent drop from its record-breaking $75 million debut —  after taking in $12 million from a market-high 3,827 theaters to top Friday. “Zootopia” zoomed past $100 million domestically and $300 million globally in its eighth day in release.

Sacha Baron Cohen‘s R-rated comedy “The Brothers Grimbsy” was bombing. The British import managed just $1.2 million from 2,235 theaters Friday and was heading for a bleak $3 million opening weekend for Sony Pictures Entertainment that will easily be the comedian’s worst opening.

Barring a miracle, “The Young Messiah” is not going to break out in its debut for Focus Features. The PG-13-rated drama starring  Adam Greaves-Neal as the young Jesus Christ took in $1.9 million from 1,761 theaters Friday and will likely finish the weekend with a soft $4 million. It is directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, who co-wrote the screenplay with his wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, based on a novel by Anne Rice.

“The Perfect Match,” an R-rated romantic comedy targeting African-American audiences directed by Bille Woodruff (“Beauty Shop”) will likely finish in the same range after a $1.6 million debut Friday. But the release from Lionsgate’s Codeblack Entertainment was in just 925 theaters.

Terrence J, Cassie Ventura, Lauren London and Paula Patton star in the film, which is based on a screenplay by Dana Verde and written by Brandon Broussard and Gary Hardwick. Queen Latifah is an executive producer.

The PG-13-rated chiller “10 Cloverfield Lane’  stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. and has been termed by Abrams a “spiritual sequel” to the 2008 found-footage horror film “Cloverfield,” which stunned for Paramount with a $40 million debut.

Director Dan Trachtenberg‘s feature film debut was called “The Cellar” when it was in the script stage in 2014 and subsequently became “Valencia.” It took on its current title during its development at the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director’s Bad Robot Productions.

Written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stucken and Damien Chazelle, “10 Cloverfield Lane” has a budget in the mid-teen millions. The critics have it at 91 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes and it received a “B-” CinemaScore from audiences in 3.391 theaters.

That’s not bad considering horror fans are notoriously tough graders and the fact that “Cloverfield Lane” had to surprise some fans, since it’s not a true sequel. The demographic breakdown on the audiences — 60 percent male and 65 percent over 25 years old — was unusual, since horror films typically skew toward young women.

“The Brothers Grimbsy” came in with low expectations and failed to meet them after critics savaged the film, in which Cohen plays the ninny brother of a British secret agent.

Mark Strong and Rebel Wilson co-star in the comedy, which Sony picked up from Paramount in 2014. Originally set for a 2015 release, “Grimsby” was pushed to this date after the Sony hack and film unit regime change.

Cohen was last seen on the big screen in “Les Miserables” in 2012, but “Grimbsy” will deliver just a fraction of the openings of his earlier R-rated comedies “The Dictator” ( $17 million), “Bruno” ($30 million) and “Borat” ($26 million).

“Deadpool” continued to deliver for Fox, and will likely finish third with around $10 million in its fifth week for Fox. That would push it past $325 million domestically and it could hit $700 million globally by Sunday.

The R-rated superhero send-up just beat out “London Is Falling,” which took in around $3 million and is also headed for $10 million in its second weekend for Focus. That easily topped “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” The R-rated Tina Fey comedy took in $2.4 million Friday and is looking at $4.3 million in its second weekend for Paramount.