“Paper Towns,” the adaptation from John Green‘s best-selling novel starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, topped the Thursday night box office with a strong $2 million, on track for $20 million for the weekend.
Sony’s “Pixels,” featuring Adam Sandler and his video-game fanatics, made $1.5 million at the Thursday night previews, opening at 2,776 theaters.
The $88 million production had been tracking for a $25 million opening weekend.
A third new wide release this weekend, The Weinstein Company’s boxing drama “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, made $1.2 million last night, following closely behind “Pixels.” Antoine Fuqua‘s boxing drama opens in 2,772 theaters and is aiming for a $13 million debut.
Holdover hits like “Ant-Man” and “Trainwreck” are also expected to draw big crowds in their second weekend, along with the Universal/Illumination Entertainment animated blockbuster “Minions.”
“Paper Towns” opened at 2,500 theaters, with shows starting at 9 p.m., preceded by a live-streaming event featuring the film’s youthful stars.
Green’s first on-screen adaptation, “The Fault in Our Stars,” grossed $26 million at the Thursday night previews last year for the same studio, Fox. With a production budget of $12 million, the 3-day weekend brought in $48 million on its way to an impressive $124.8 million domestic gross.
Like that one, “Paper Towns” is romance aimed directly at adolescent girls, with a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. It’s also produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, the team behind the “Twilight” movies, and has a similarly lean $12 million production budget.
The movie is about a young Quentin (Wolff) and his friends, who embark on a road trip to find the missing girl next door, whom he has crushed on since kindergarten days.
“Pixels” is an original movie, based on a short film by Patrick Jean and scripted by Tim Dowling and Timothy Herlihy, about aliens who invade earth after misinterpreting video feeds from arcade games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Frogger.