Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s “Ready Player One” launched into 3,500 theaters for preview screenings on Wednesday night, earning $TK million.
Comps for this film are difficult, as Spielberg’s list of films this decade include very few crowd-pleasers like “Ready Player One,” and the ones that would be considered that like “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The BFG” did not perform well at the box office. The best comp would likely be Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” which opened on Easter weekend in 2013 and made $2.2 million in its Wednesday previews, going on to gross $51 million on opening weekend.
“Ready Player One” goes wide today on 4,200 screens, with WB expecting an opening of $45 million against a $175 million budget, with hopes of strong holds in the coming weeks with good word of mouth. A $150-170 million global start is projected, with the film opening in 85 percent of international markets this weekend.
Based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, a young man who lives in a dystopian future where almost everyone escapes their horrid reality through a virtual world called the OASIS. With the help of his friends, he sets out to complete a quest created by the OASIS’ late creator (Mark Rylance) before the head of an evil corporation (Ben Mendelsohn) can finish it and take over the virtual system.
Spielberg directed the film from a script penned by Cline with Zak Penn. The film also stars Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, and Simon Pegg. The film currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78 percent.