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Melissa McCarthy’s ‘The Boss’ Starts Strong With $985,000 at Thursday Box Office

New comedy falls short of beating Tuesday debut of “Tammy” in 2014 but tops the preview gross of 2013’s “Identity Thief”

Last Updated: April 8, 2016 @ 2:45 PM

Melissa McCarthy‘s “The Boss” got right to work, with a promising $985,000 at Thursday preview shows in 2,533 theaters.

By comparison, her 2014 comedy “Tammy” debuted to $1.3 million when it opened on a Tuesday night. Her hit “Identity Thief” earned $409,000 on its first night in 2013. And “The Heat” saw a similar number to that of “The Boss” when it debuted in 2013, making $1 million in previews en route to a $39 million opening weekend.

In “The Boss,” McCarthy plays a disgraced industry titan who tries to redeem her reputation by building a brownie empire. According to analysts, the comedy is looking to open in the low-$20 million range. That’s on par with the actress’ recent box office hits, including last year’s “Spy,” which opened to $29 million, and “Tammy” which debuted to $21.6 million.

Starring Peter Dinklage, Kristen Bell, Kristen Schaal and Kathy Bates, the film is being skewered by critics, whose reviews amount to a bad 19 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Boss,” which was produced on a $29 million budget, is posing a threat to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” this weekend. The Henry Cavill-Ben Affleck superhero saga is expected to drop by half after suffering a massive second-week decline of 69.1 percent. Heading into this frame, the film is expected to earn less than half of the $51.3 million that it banked last weekend.

On Thursday, both “The Boss” and “Batman v Superman” were running neck-and-neck in Fandango’s advanced ticket sales — the Fanticipation buzz indicator gave the former 80 points out of 100 and the latter 81 out of 100.

Meanwhile, STX Entertainment’s “Hardcore Henry” earned $380,000 in Thursday previews. It is opening on 3,000 screens this weekend.

The movie, shot entirely with a GoPro, has been tracking to earn $7 million to $9 million in its first three days, although projections for the action film are difficult to make because it essentially establishes a new genre. STX acquired the film at the Toronto Film Festival.

Critics are split on “Hardcore Henry.” It now has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 50 percent, although it was up to 70 percent in the days leading up to its previews.