If Disney’s Marvel superhero sequel can come in with half of the April record $96 million that it debuted with last weekend, it should repeat as No. 1. But anything less will create an opening for “Rio 2,” the family-targeting cartoon sequel featuring the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway.
The 3D computer-animated musical from Fox’s Blue Sky Studios will debut with between $40 million and $45 million, industry analysts say.
Summit Entertainment’s Kevin Costner football movie “Draft Day” and the Relativity Media horror film “Oculus” also open Friday, with both expected to land in the $10 million to $15 million range. Freestyle Releasing is upping the screen count on its resilient Christian drama “God’s Not Dead” and will have it in nearly 2,000 locations for its fourth weekend, while Sony Pictures Classics is going nationwide with its martial arts sequel “The Raid 2,” which will be in 944 theaters.
Roadside Attractions’ “Joe,” a drama starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, is the week’s top limited release and will be in 48 theaters.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which will remain in roughly 3,930 theaters, has the inside track. It took in just over $6 million Monday — and nearly $7 million Tuesday. “Soldier” is up to $108 million domestically, and more than $315 million worldwide.
But Fox is bullish on the G-rated “Rio 2,” and with good reason.
The original opened to $39 million on this same weekend in 2011, going on to earn $143.6 million domestically and a strong $341 million internationally. “Rio 2” has already taken in $55 million overseas, including $21 million from Russia and another $15 million from Brazil.
Director Carlos Saldanha returns for the sequel, as do characters voiced by Leslie Mann, Jamie Foxx and Tracy Morgan. Newcomers Bruno Mars and Kristen Chenoweth join the ensemble.
The tracking has been solid for weeks, its social media indicators are trending up and advance sales are strong. But the reviews have just been OK; the best thing going for it could be that it will have the family field pretty much to itself. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” another kids film distributed by Fox, is heading into its fifth week — playing on far less screens than “Rio 2,” which opens in 3,940 theaters.
The Ivan Reitman-directed football drama “Draft Day” centers on Sonny Weaver (Costner), general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who is desperately trying to land the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to reverse his team’s losing streak. Rounding out the cast are Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Ellen Burstyn and Chadwick Boseman (“42”).
The role is a good fit for Costner’s wheelhouse, who has played the lead in several well-known sports films, including “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” and “Tin Cup.”
Costner’s last outing was “3 Days to Kill,” an action thriller that opened to $12.2 million. “Kill,” from Relativity, topped out at $30.3 million in February.
The film’s timing couldn’t be better, since the NFL draft has never been more popular.
This year’s event, which is set for May 8, will be watched by more than 12,000 people at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, with more than 8 million tuning in on TV to see which college players are chosen by which pro teams.
Lionsgate’s Summit will have the PG-13-rated “Draft Day” in roughly 2,700 theaters.
Mike Flanagan’s “Oculus” is Relativity Media’s first foray into the micro-budgeted horror realm.
Relativity partnered with genre master Jason Blum and acquired the Intrepid Pictures project for $2.5 million last fall after it screened at the Toronto Film Festival.
Flanagan (“Absentia”) directed “Oculus” from a screenplay he wrote with Jeff Howard, which was based on the short screenplay by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman.
Mark D. Evans and Trevor Macy produced the film, which stars Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who”), Brenton Thwaites (“Maleficent”) and Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”).
The R-rated thriller follows a brother and sister who team up to defeat an evil force that killed their parents.
CBS Films will have “Afflicted” in its second week of limited release, but “Oculus” is the first wide horror release since January, when “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” “Devil’s Due” and “I, Frankenstein” all opened. This weekend, “Oculus” will haunt roughly 2,500 theaters.
“Joe,” produced and directed by indie filmmaker David Gordon Green (“Prince Avalanche”), is the story of an ex-con (Cage) who becomes an unlikely role model for a 15-year-old boy (Sheridan). Gary Hawkins adapted the screenplay from Larry Brown’s 1991 novel.
Also on the specialty front, Entertainment One is rolling out the romantic dance comedy “Cuban Fury” in 79 theaters and six markets.
“Cuban Fury” is directed by James Griffiths (“Up All Night”) and written by Jon Brown, based on an original idea by Nick Frost. He stars along with Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Olivia Colman, Kayvan Novak, Rory Kinnear, Alexandra Roach and Ian McShane.
The story follows a former youth salsa dancer (Frost) who goes back to his childhood instructor (McShane) in order to beat out his rival (O’Dowd) to win the affection of his new boss (Jones).
It’s produced by Nira Park and James Biddle, the team behind “The World’s End.”