The box office will take a little breather this weekend with some new counterprogramming offerings and expansions before Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron arrives to blow the hinges off the box office annals next Thursday. Universal’s Furious 7 is hands down the front-runner for the fourth weekend in a row and will cross the $300M mark tonight with its current domestic cume currently at $298.8M. Aggressive estimates see F7 with a $20M FSS, down only 31%, with more conservative projections at mid- to high teens.
Second place will be a toss-up between Lakeshore’s $30M romantic period drama The Age Of Adaline from Lionsgate, which is a prime starring vehicle for Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively, and the sophomore sesh of Sony’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Currently, Adaline has the edge with a low teens weekend estimate at 2,991 while Paul Blart will zoom toward $12.5M, repping a 47% decline. Current B.O. for Paul Blart is $26.5M.
The last time Lively graced the screen was when she co-starred in Oliver Stone’s 2012 drug-cartel action pic Savages ($47.4M domestic B.O.), and prior to that her last major studio pic was Warner Bros’ costly 2011 superhero film Green Lantern ($53.2M opening, $116.6M domestic), in which the actress starred opposite Ryan Reynolds. Adaline follows a young woman born at the turn of the 20th century who, after an accident, remains 29 years old for the rest of her life. She falls in love with a guy, and, well, that’s when things get sticky. Pete Hammond adores the film, calling it “a cross between The Twilight Zone and the Christopher Reeves film Somewhere In Time.” Harrison Ford co-stars.
The second weekend for Universal/Blumhouse’s horror thriller Unfriended should find enough friends to make $6M-7M in fourth place. A24 is going wide with sci-fi Ex Machina in its third sesh at an estimated 1,200 locations. Lower projections see $2.5M, but it could surprise and do as much as $4M. The Alex Garland-directed film has an 89% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and has been posting some hearty per-theater averages with $59K at four LA and NY locales in its first weekend and a $21K PA at 39 theaters last weekend. Ex Machina‘s current domestic cume through Tuesday is $1.1M.
The second wide entry this weekend after Adaline is Open Road Films’ Little Boy, which is vying for the faith-based crowd at 1,045 and a till of $3M. Pic follows an 8-year-old who is trying to do what he can to end World War II and have his father return home. Auds yearning to see star Kevin James in another comedy role — this film is not for you. James gets serious here. Emily Watson, Michael Rapaport and Ben Chaplin also star.
In a limited bow, Russell Crowe is making his feature directorial debut with The Water Diviner at 320 locations (70 of which are Imax). The WWI-set film follows an Australian man who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. Industry estimates predict the film should make between $1.2M-$1.5M.