UPDATE, 2:46 PM: According to mid-day industry estimates, Sony/Media Rights Capital’s Chappie from director Neill Blomkamp is tracking above studio weekend estimates of $14M, looking at $16M with an eye on a $5.5M Friday at 3,201 theaters. Sure, that’s lower than opening days of the director’s previous two films — 2009’s District 9 (opening day $14.16M, weekend $37.4M) and 2013’s Elysium (opening day $11M, weekend $29.8M) — but both those titles were August launches when a number of college kids and upper teens were off from school.
In addition to Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver, Chappie stars South African rap duo Die Antwoord aka Ninja and Yo-landi Vi$$er. Like District 9, Chappie was shot in South Africa for a studio-reported $49M, which is 57% less than the budget of Blomkamp’s Elysium and slightly higher than the reported $30M for District 9.
Warner Bros’ Focus is on track for only a 44% second-weekend decline per industry projections, with $10.4M and a total of $35M by Sunday. The Will Smith-starrer is expected to slot second today with $3.1M at 3,323 playdates.
In third, Fox Searchlight’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is looking at an estimated $3M for Friday at 1,573 theaters and an opening weekend of $9.08M.
20th Century Fox’s Unfinished Business is tracking for a $2.2M-$2.5M Friday at 2,777 in fourth, on course for a $5M-$6M bow. New Regency financed the Vince Vaughn comedy for what is a $35M studio-reported estimate. Fox’s Kinsgman: The Secret Service is looking at $2M today with a potential fifth-place rank on the chart with $7.5M at 3,101 venues and a fourth frame total by Sunday of $97.2M — inches from $100M.
In its fifth frame, Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water should make $1.6M, outside Friday’s top five, but likely will pop back in with $8.3M in fourth and a total cume by Sunday of $150.3M.
PREVIOUS, 9:17 AM: Sony’s Neill Blomkamp post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Chappie grossed $750K in Thursday night previews while 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s Vince Vaughn comedy Unfinished Business collected $250K at 1,985 theaters. Both films are rated R, two of eight adult titles since the start of 2015.
Chappie is expected to easily notch the top place at the box office this weekend with an estimated $14M at 3,200, with an extra boost coming from IMAX and premium large format screens. The film about a killer cop robot who is programmed to have human emotions is also rolling out in 53 markets abroad. Currently, Chappie is tracking strongest in total awareness among men over 25, which makes sense because it’s a R-rated film.
Unfinished Business, which also stars Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson, is expected to do in the mid-single digit range at 2,777 engagements. It’s also showing its strongest total awareness among guys over 25.
Last night, Warner Bros. Will Smith romance noir Focus made $1.22M, raising its weekly take to $24.57M. Industry estimates see the film declining 50-55% this weekend from its $18.69M bow. In comparison to last night’s wide entries, Focus, also R-rated, made $839K in its Thursday previews.
Also opening this weekend is Fox Searchlight’s sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at 1,573. It is expected to generate $7-8M and is showing the highest total awareness in the women over 25 demo.