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‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Leads Friday Box Office With $26.4 Million

”Alice Through the Looking Glass“ underperforms with $9.8 million for second place

While Thursday night previews for “X-Men: Apocalypse” were strong, the sequel’s box office performance on Friday indicates that it is no “Days of Future Past.”

The 20th Century Fox movie brought in $26.4 million on Friday — much less than the $35.5 million grossed by “X-Men: Days of Future Past” on its first full day of release. That movie went on to a huge $110.6 million opening weekend during the Memorial Day holiday in 2014.

Early tracking has the “X-Men” sequel aiming for $100 million over this four-day weekend, including Monday’s results. Studio estimates, however, are set a bit lower, at just above $80 million.

Directed by Bryan Singer, the Fox film is playing on 4,150 screens and was made on a production budget of $178 million — about $12 million less than the cost of 2014’s “X-Men” installment.

With a 52 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, this “X-Men” sequel is much less popular with critics than “Days of Future Past,” which had a 91 percent rating. But audiences are still revved up for the film, given its A- CinemaScore.

The movie, about a penultimate showdown with the powerful ancient mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), should easily top the box office throughout the long holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is in second place, bringing in only $9.8 million on Friday.

It had been tracking to debut at around $70 million, once Monday’s holiday numbers come in. The studio, however, predicted a more conservative $60 million to $63 million. But now, with Friday’s weak returns, onlookers are saying that Disney will be lucky to make $40 million.

Much like the “X-Men” sequel, the “Alice” sequel is somewhat less popular with critics than its predecessor, 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” was. The current movie has a 47 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. However, the first installment — a bona fide hit — proved to be pan-proof, grossing $116.1 million at the box office when it opened in spite of a 52 percent critical rating. It also has an A- CinemaScore.

The live-action sequel stars Johnny Depp, and it opens amid domestic abuse allegations brought by his estranged wife Amber Heard. But it is not yet clear if the controversy will impact ticket sales.

Also starring Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway, “Alice” is playing in 3,763 theaters.

The Memorial Day weekend at the box office always offers a good report card on the summer, ComScore senior analyst Paul Degarabedian told TheWrap. “It’s an important barometer,” he said, predicting that the weekend tally will be a big one at the domestic box office as a whole, but it likely won’t be quite enough to beat 2013’s record of $314.2 million in collective weekend grosses, led by “Fast & Furious 6.”

“X-Men: Apocalypse” grossed $8.2 million in its Thursday night previews. The film’s immediate predecessor, “Days of Future Past,” launched with $8.1 million at the Thursday box office in 2014 and went on to earn $110.6 million over its three-day holiday weekend.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” made $1.5 million in Thursday night grosses.

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