‘The Girl on the Train’ on Track to Top Weekend Box Office With $30 Million

“The Birth of a Nation” won’t live up to initial expectations

Last Updated: October 5, 2016 @ 5:56 PM

DreamWorks Pictures murder mystery “The Girl on the Train,” starring Emily Blunt, is expected to have an easy time topping the box office this upcoming weekend.

An adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel of the same name, the film revolves around a troubled and eccentric divorcée who inserts herself into a missing persons case.

Trackers have the thriller topping $30 million, though studio estimates from Universal, the film’s distributor, are more conservative, have it safely exceeding $20 million in box office receipts.

Either way, the prospects are good for “The Girl on the Train,” which was made for $40 million, not counting marketing costs.

Opening in 3,135 theaters, the film also features performances by Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez and Lisa Kudrow.

The thriller was directed by Tate Taylor, who helmed the Oscar-winning film “The Help,” which was also based on a book.

Slavery epic “The Birth of a Nation” won’t fare as well, with projections set at roughly $9 million in opening grosses.

Marked by an off-screen controversy around the 17-year-old rape accusation of filmmaker and star Nate Parker, the title will have a hard time meeting the initial expectations from when it was bought by Fox Searchlight at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking $17.5 million.

“The Birth of a Nation,” produced for a reported $10 million, stars Parker as Nat Turner, who led a 48-hour slave rebellion against his white masters. Armie Hammer and Aja Naomi King co-star alongside Jackie Earle Haley and Jayson Warner Smith. It will likely finish in third place this weekend, behind holdover “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

Another book adaptation opens this weekend with CBS Films and Lionsgate’s “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.”

Opening in 2,822 theaters, the coming-of-age comedy is expected to debut at just under $8 million. It was made for a reported $11 million, less marketing costs.

Directed by Steve Carr (“Paul Blart Mall Cop,” “Movie 43”), the film stars Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham and Rob Riggle.