‘The Purge’ Sequel Scares Up Friday Box Office Win With $14.5 Million

“The Legend of Tarzan” swings to a close second with $14 million; “The BFG” falls far behind with $7 million

The Purge Election Year Frank Grillo Elizabeth Mitchell

“The Purge: Election Year” made $14.5 million in theaters on Friday, just inches ahead of the competition to claim the No. 1 position.

The R-rated Blumhouse horror sequel, distributed by Universal, played on 2,787 screens and is outpacing four-day weekend predictions of $25 million, counting the $3.6 million it scooped up during Thursday night preview screenings.

Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow’s “The Legend of Tarzan” made $14 million from 3,561 screens on Friday.

Meanwhile Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” made $13.4 million from 4,305 screens as it entered its third weekend in theaters — much lower than what it needs to hit initial weekend estimates of $50 million by the time Monday’s July 4th holiday rolls around.

Though, “Dory” made nearly double what Disney’s new offering grossed. Steven Spielberg‘s Roald Dahl adaptation, “The BFG,” brought in only $7 million from 3,357 screens.

It all adds up to a rather weak Fourth of July weekend at the box office.

“The Legend of Tarzan” made only $2.6 million during Thursday night previews. The movie, starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie, likely won’t finish out the weekend strong enough to justify its hefty $180 million production budget — and that’s not counting marketing costs.

Hollywood’s latest in a long line of adaptations of author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ literary jungle character appears on track to pass $30 million once Monday’s Independence Day holiday comes — which is, at least, ahead of most initial estimates.

Telling the tale of the titular character’s return to the jungle, the movie is directed by David Yates and also stars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson. It has received unimpressive reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 33 percent. Though the film has a strong A- Cinemascore — which measures fan anticipation levels among those surveyed.

Disney’s “The BFG” earned $775,000 on Thursday. That sum is in line with the recent Thursday preview results for “Angry Birds” ($800,000) and “Home” ($650,000).

Judging by its numbers so far, the Spielberg film will be lucky if it meets the low end of initial $26 million estimates.

Given that the production budget for “The BFG” was estimated at $140 million, its opening is sizing up to be decidedly low — particularly given the pedigree of the talent involved. The film stars Oscar winner Mark Rylance as the “big friendly giant.”

However, “The BFG” has been warmly reviewed. It currently holds a score of 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has an A- Cinemascore.

“The Purge” sequel stars Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost”) as a presidential candidate who is running on the platform of a Purge-less society, attempting to eliminate the one day when killing is deemed legal. Frank Grillo (Crossbones in the “Captain America” series) returns as police sergeant Barnes.

The horror sequel is expected to continue its prequels’ high revenue margins. Building off the success of the first two “Purge” films, the franchise has so far earned $200 million worldwide, and the third film is estimated to make around $25 million this holiday weekend.

The movie currently holds a score of 54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ Cinemascore.

Disney-Pixar’s holdover “Finding Dory” was expected hold onto the top spot for its third straight weekend with an expected $50 million four-day haul — but now that Friday’s numbers have rolled in, it’s looking like those estimates were overly optimistic.

The long awaited sequel to “Finding Nemo” took in $73 million last weekend after hooking $135 million in its first frame, a record for an animated movie.