7TH Write thru, Monday PM:  Sony/MGM’s The Magnificent Seven counts a worldwide total to date of $59.3M with an overseas take including MGM territories at $24.6M. Stateside is riding off with $34.7M. Though $300K lighter than yesterday’s domestic estimate, all records still hold: director Antoine Fuqua’s best stateside, second best for a live-action western after Cowboys & Aliens ($36.4M) and third best for Denzel Washington after American Gangster ($43.6M) and Safe House ($40.1M). With its A- CinemaScore, Magnificent Seven is looking forward to a domestic sunset in the 3x multiple horizon much like Fuqua/Washington’s previous combo The Equalizer did ($34.1M opening, final domestic $101.5M). At the end of its global weekend, The Equalizer had already made $53.1M, however, Magnificent Seven had a $5.1M head start in South Korea, before its launch in the U.S. and Sony’s 46 territories.

In its second weekend in the U.S./Canada, Magnificent Seven should ease between 50-52% for a 3-day between $16.7M-$17.3M. It is largely expected that 20th Century Fox’s Tim Burton title Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will win the weekend with a FSS north of $27M in an estimated 3,400 locations. Pic will steal all the little girls away from Warner Bros. Animation’s Storks which flew in with a debut of $21.3M stateside, $39.9M worldwide. Storks is expected to glide down -40% for a $12.8M second domestic weekend.

Exclaimed Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution chief Josh Greenstein on Sunday AM about Magnificent Seven, “Sony is on a very hot run of profitable movies between The Angry Birds Movie, The Shallows, Sausage Party, Don’t Breathe and now Magnificent Seven is another great win for us. Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are an incredible winning combination, and we’re in business with them moving forward in the future with Chris on Passengers and Denzel on Inner City. Antoine did a great job, putting his signature stamp on this film and making it the biggest opening of his career.”

Magnificent Seven also reps a win for westerns at the B.O. For years, back in the 1980s, they were a bastard genre to get made. Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven broke the flood gates with best picture wins and big grosses, but in an age where superhero films rule, cowboy movies can still thrive with True Grit, Django Unchained and now Magnificent Seven. The trick is keeping their budgets reasonable, unlike The Lone Ranger ($215M) and Cowboys & Aliens ($163M).

Sony/MGM has equal shares on Magnificent Seven‘s $90M production pricetag, then sold 20% of aggregate to both LStar Capital and Village Roadshow. In essence, this isn’t set up like a 007 film between Sony/MGM, where Sony is merely a distribution partner. Sony has skin in Magnificent Seven. Imax locations for the oater earned $2.9M at 372 locations. Still too soon to call breakeven on Magnificent Seven since it’s just getting started overseas in UK, Germany, Spain and Russia. But here are some details to consider — on the plus side, Magnificent Seven has more working in its favor next to other westerns between its production cost and Pratt/Washington’s appeal (stateside crowds claimed at 61% that they were the reason why they went). Even though foreign B.O. prognosticators don’t expect Magnificent Seven to do Django business abroad, which was huge at $262.6M fueled by Quentin Tarantino’s brand name as well as Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, A Hateful Eight foreign return of $100M isn’t unreasonable for Magnificent Seven. On the downside, what makes breakeven arduous for Magnificent Seven is…it’s a western, and they’re an unpredictable genre abroad. In addition, the pic’s two stars and Fuqua’s profit participations are at cash breakeven.

storks-3

Storks’ U.S./Canada opening is well under its $30M-projection; an obvious sign that the audiences polled during tracking didn’t show up. Kids’ films can be difficult to peg on tracking. A debut like this for a $70M movie doesn’t scream future franchise and its 3-day is reminiscent of Sony’s Open Season which made $23.6M, earned an A- CinemaScore (which isn’t good for an animated movie when its opening is this low), carried a similar production cost ($85M), and did a 3.6x multiple with a final stateside take of $85.1M. Overseas was $112.2M. Though Open Season created a launchpad for animated pics in late September, property/cost/box office-wise, it didn’t warrant a theatrical sequel (just video), and that might be the case here with Storks. The fact that it skews way younger to the under-10 crowd, and is not a ‘five-quad’ animated film, will slow its pace. If you’re a frosh toon, you need wide appeal if you’re going to be a studio cornerstone franchise. DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins of Madagascar was another handholder-skewing movie that opened in this Storks range ($25.4M FSS, with an A- CinemaScore and an $83M final stateside take). Though Penguins was pained by its $132M production cost, the reason why it made 78% of its global tally overseas ($289.7M/$373M) stemmed from the fact that it was an established DWA brand. It would be a shocker if Storks hits those foreign B.O. numbers even after ts $18.6M launch this weekend in 33 territories (including China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Australia).

Queen of Katwe

Disney’s Mira Nair movie Queen of Katwe made $304,933 at 52 sites. While not an impressive theater average with close to $6K, the movie did earn an A+ CinemaScore. This will likely impact where Disney expands to as it reaches an estimated 1,500 locations. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and while it touts adult-appealing themes in its marketing and elements (director Nair and stars Lupita N’yongo and David Oyelowo), Queen of Katwe is really a family film at heart. Females repped 54% of the audience, adults over 25 were 76%.

the dressmaker kate winslet

Broad Green’s quirky Kate Winslet comedy, The Dressmakerwhich marks the return of Australian director Jocelyn Moorhouse after an 18-year hiatus, is posting a $5K theater average at 36 locations or $185,165.

I’m told by rival sources that these starts for Queen of Katwe and The Dressmaker aren’t good. Both labels are shelling out for national TV ads and they’re largely booked at the best theaters in each of the markets they’re playing in.  A $10K opening theater average would have been the ideal minimum. Dressmaker has already twirled around in a number of foreign territories where it’s made $21.6M, $14.4M of that coming from its native Australia.

Overall weekend ticket sales at $103.89M are up +16% over last weekend, but off 25% from a year ago which was when Hotel Transylvania 2 hit an opening record for September of $48.5M, with The Intern serving as lady counterprogramming with $17.7M. But get a load of how well the year is going: ComScore reports that for the period of Jan. 1-Sept. 25, we’re at close to $8.496B, 5.1% ahead of last year at this time.

For Deadline’s Specialty box office report, go here.

Follow Anthony D’Alessandro at @Awardstony on Twitter

Monday’s actuals for the weekend of Sept. 23-25, 2016 courtesy of ComScore:

1). The Magnificent Seven  (Sony), 3,674 theaters /3-day cume: $34.7M / Per screen: $9,446 / Wk 1

 

2). Storks  (WB), 3,922 theaters /3-day cume: $21.3M / Per screen: $5,434 / Wk 1

 

3). Sully  (WB), 3,955 theaters (+430)/ 3-day cume: $15.5M (-37%)/ Per screen: $3,423 / Total: $92.1M / Wk 3

 

4). Bridget Jones’s Baby (UNI), 2,930 theaters (+3)/ 3-day cume: $4.7M (-46%)/ Per screen: $1,589 / Total: $16.6M / Wk 2

 

5). Snowden  (OR), 2,443 theaters (0)/ 3-day cume: $4.1M (-49)/ Per screen: $1,660 /Total: $15.1M / Wk 2

 

6). Blair Witch  (LG), 3,121 theaters (0) /3-day cume: $4.1M (-58)/ Per screen: $1,299 /Total: $16.2M / Wk 2

 

7). Don’t Breathe (SONY), 2,438 theaters (-770) / 3-day cume: $3.8M (-33%)/Per screen: $1,548 Total  cume: $81.1M / Wk 5

 

8). Suicide Squad (WB), 2,172 theaters (-568)/ 3-day cume: $3.1M (-34%) / Per screen: $1,431 / Total cume: $318.1M / Wk 8

 

9). When the Bough Breaks  (SONY), 1,444 theaters (-802)/ 3-day cume: $2.5M (-54%)/Per screen: $1,742 / Total: $26.6M /Wk 3

 

10). Kubo and the Two Strings (FOC), 1,209 theaters (-548) / 3-day cume: $1.1M (-56%) /Per screen: $930 / Total cume: $46M / Wk 6

 

11). Hell or High Water (CBS/Lionsgate), 1,128 theaters (-377) / 3-day cume: $1.07M (-48%)/ Per screen: $1,379 / Total cume: $24.8M / Wk 7

 

12). Bad Moms (STX), 986 theaters (-500) /3-day cume: $997K (-44%) /Per screen: $948 / Total cume: $111.7M / Wk 9

 

13). Pete’s Dragon (DIS), 1,230 theaters (-718) / 3-day cume: $870K (-60%) / Per screen: $707 / Total cume: $74.2M / Wk 7

 

14). No Manches Frida (LG), 416 theaters (-40) /3-day cume: $721K (-44%) /Per screen: $1,734 / Total cume: $10.3M / Wk 4

 

15). The Secret Life Of Pets (UNI), 747 theaters (-258) /3-day cume: $692K (-44%) /Per screen: $927 / Total cume: $364.3M / Wk 12

 

16). Sausage Party (SONY), 551 theaters (-630) /3-day cume: $562K (-53%) /Per screen: $1,021 / Total cume: $96.4M / Wk 7

 

17). Jason Bourne (UNI), 623 theaters (-385) /3-day cume: $533K (-51%) /Per screen: $856 / Total cume: $161.3M / Wk 9

 

18). Hillsong (Pure), 763 theaters (-53) / 3-day cume: $415K (-69%) /Per screen: $544 /Total cume: $2.1M / Wk 2

 

19). The Wild Life  (LG), 1,431 theaters (-1,062)/3-day cume: $412K (-85%)/ Per screen: $288 / Total:$7.7M/ Wk 3

 

20). Beatles: Eight Days a Week  (ABR), 151 theaters (+66) /$ 3-day cume: $403K (-35)/ Per screen: $2,671 / Total: $1.5K /Wk 2

******

Sunday’s Studio reported estimates for the weekend of Sept. 23-25, 2016:

1). Magnificent Seven  (SONY), 3,121 theaters / $12.7M Fri. / $13.8M Sat. / $8.5M Sun. / 3-day cume: $35M / Wk 1

2). Storks  (WB), 3,922 theaters / $5.7M Fri. / $9.4M Sat. / $6.6M Sun. / 3-day cume: $21.8M / Wk 1

3). Sully  (WB), 3,955 theaters (+430)/ $4.2M Fri. / $6M Sat./ $3.6M Sun. / 3-day cume: $13.8M (-36%)/Total: $92.4M / Wk 3

4). Bridget Jones’s Baby  (UNI), 2,930 theaters (+3) / $1.47M Fri. / $1.97M Sat. / $1.1M Sun. / 3-day cume: $4.5M (-47%)/Total Cume:$16.5M/ Wk 2

5). Snowden  (OR), 2,443 theaters / $1.2M Fri. / $1.8M Sat. / $1.1M Sun. / 3-day cume: $4.1M (-49%)/Total Cume: $15.1M/ Wk 2

6). Blair Witch  (LG), 3,121 theaters / $1.27M Fri. / $1.75M Sat. / $930K Sun. / 3-day cume: $3.95M (-59%)/Total cume: $16.1M/ Wk 2

7). Don’t Breathe (SONY), 2,438 theaters (-770) / $1.1M  Fri. / $1.7M Sat. / $955K Sun. / 3-day cume: $3.8M (-33%)/ Total  cume: $81.1M / Wk 5

8). Suicide Squad (WB), 2,172 theaters (-568) / $800K Fri. / $1.5M Sat./ $820K Sun. / 3-day cume: $3.1M (-34%) / Total cume: $318.1M / Wk 8

9). When the Bough Breaks  (SONY), 1,444 theaters (-802) /$715K Fri. / $1.2M Sat. / $565K Sun. / 3-day cume: $2.5M (-54%)/Total: $26.6M/ Wk 3

10/11). Kubo and the Two Strings (FOC), 1,209 theaters (-548) / $261K Fri. / $510K Sat. / $332K Sun. / 3-day cume: $1.1M (-57%) / Total cume: $45.9M / Wk 6

Hell or High Water (CBS/Lionsgate), 1,128 theaters (-377) / $327K Fri. / $492K Sat. / $281K Sun.  / 3-day cume: $1.1M (-47%)/ Total cume: $24.8M / Wk 7

 

5TH Write-thru, Saturday AM: Even though estimates for Sony/MGM’s The Magnificent Seven are now pointing to $35.3M, the reality of this $90M production is that it’s a decent opening that’s in sync with the western genre and its leading star Denzel Washington. Should grosses keep up for Magnificent Seven, director Antoine Fuqua should see his best opening at the B.O., besting The Equalizer ($34.1M). In addition, Magnificent Seven looks to rank as the second best opening for a western behind Cowboys & Aliens ($36.4M). For a second last night, it looked like Magnificent Seven might be the best debut for a September release outside of a family (Hotel Transylvania 2‘s $48.5M) or genre title (Insidious Chapter 2‘s $40.3M), but Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama still rules ($35.6M).

Nonetheless, as one distribution executive asserted after last weekend’s tracking mayhem, “The box office is not broken”.

Also note, Magnificent Seven is inching out Sully ($35M), which was also a Village Roadshow co-production. The western remake received an A- CinemaScore, the same grade as Fuqua/Washington’s previous collaboration The Equalizer which turned in close to a 3x multiple with a $101.5M final domestic total.

In regards to theatrical profit, it’s too soon to tell on Magnificent Seven which already counts South Korean cash of $5.1M and is playing in Russia, Spain, German and the U.K. this weekend. Some of Washington’s top grossing movies can gross 40%-50% of their global B.O. abroad. Westerns, as we explained in the previous update, are more wild to predict in their end games. The old notion was that oaters never traveled outside the U.S., but there are exceptions like Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight ($101.1M abroad, 65% of worldwide) Django Unchained  (an enormous $262.6M, 62% of global B.O. with Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz leading the cast and Sony handling overseas) and even Disney’s bomb The Lone Ranger which despite its huge cost made $171.2M overseas. In the case of Magnificent Seven, we also have to consider Washington and Chris Pratt’s participations.

(l to r) Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee star in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

We often gripe that there aren’t any more stars who can open movies at the box office. However in the last three weeks, we’ve seen Tom Hanks clock the third best opening of his career, and now Washington as well. Magnificent Seven underscores Washington’s reliability in opening a movie to a specific size, and Magnificent Seven isn’t far from his top-career debuts American Gangster ($43.6M) and Safe House ($40M). Not many actors have this B.O. stamina. Liam Neeson can be relied upon to deliver great results with a Taken movie, but ticket buyers see the rest of his canon as derivative of that franchise, and save their money. Washington, on the other hand, changes up his genres rather than dabbling in the same old ones. What further swells his openings is whenever he’s paired with another bankable co-star, i.e. Russell Crowe on American Gangster, Ryan Reynolds on Safe House, Mark Whalberg on 2 Guns (opening $27M, final domestic $75.6M) or here with Pratt on Magnificent Seven. Those coming out for Washington and Pratt repped 61% of Friday night’s audience who gave the movie an A-.

Another thing that Magnificent Seven proves is that classic remakes – like the Coen Bros.’ True Grit redo before it – with the right director and leading cast, can still hit solid opening B.O. results. There was concern after Paramount/MGM’s Ben-Hur nosedive that precious classics were untouchables at the B.O. However, that sword and sandal epic was thrown off its horse by frosh headliner Jack Huston, not to mention it was a boring, laborious history lesson helmed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Males made up 59% of Magnificent Seven‘s audience while females accounted for 41%. Both gave it an A-. 25 and up was huge at 81%.

MGM has been shepherding this reboot of the 1960 John Sturges movie since 2012 when Tom Cruise was attached (read previous update). Sony kicked off their campaign in April when they launched the first trailer, and the cast took to their social media pages to reveal character-by-character what the full in-theater banner would look like.

TV ads kicked off during the summer paired with the NBA finals and BET Awards as well as the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sony rounded out the campaign with a presence in live sporting events such as NFL, NCAA Football and local MLB as well as highly anticipated fall premieres and original programming, like Empire, The Voice, American Horror Story, Fear the Walking Dead and Designated Survivor.

'The Magnificent Seven' premiere, 73rd Venice Film Festival, Italy - 10 Sep 2016

With the onset of NFL season, Sony sponsored a weekly fantasy football both on-air and online with ESPN. Magnificent Seven commanded the conversation with a fantasy draft-themed segment featuring Trent Dilfer, Randy Moss, Matt Hasselbeck, and Charles Woodson from Sunday NFL Countdown and an appearance by New England Patriot’s tight end Rob Gronkowski, as they chose characters from the film to be a part of their draft lineup.  Magnificent Seven was also a launch partner of Twitter’s new weekly live stream of NFL football games on Thursday nights. There were tie-ins with Fandango and Facebook, with the latter’s users – for the first time – able to buy movie tickets to Magnificent Seven. In total, iSpot.TV estimates that Sony spent $25.8M in internet and TV ad spots.

In addition, there was a USO stop with Fuqua, Chris Pratt and Haley Bennett at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. Lastly, Magnificent Seven premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival as the opening night title and as Venice’s closing night title. The TIFF premiere featured a Twitter Q&A with Pratt, Instagram’s new “Stories” platform, a branded SnapChat filter and red carpet social coverage from the festival.

storks-2

This brings us to Warner Bros.’ animated feature Storks which is filing far below industry and studio expectations with an estimated $21.2M in second off a reported $70M production cost. Many had this between $28M-$33M. We also need to keep in mind that Storks skews younger toward “handholders” and that crowd comes out more on Saturday than on Friday when they’ve been in school. So, we’ll see how much matinee business this brings. Currently, B.O. forecasters have it spiking at least 70% over its $5.7M Friday take. However, I’m told when an animated pic opens with an A- CinemaScore and its grosses are low, it will struggle in its legs and may not churn a 4x-5x multiple that we are used to seeing (read DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar which did $83.4M, a little more than 3x its 3-day of $25.4M off an A-).  In fact, it’s akin to an adult movie getting a B CinemaScore. Note it’s the adults dragging Storks grades down with grandparents (over 50) giving it a B-, and the over 25 a B+. Females at 60% indicate moms turned up. Even though the under 18 gave it an A+, I hear that’s no surprise. It’s mom footing the bill, and she’ll decide if the kids go. It’s a different story when a feature toon gets an A- and earns $104.4M in its first FSS like Secret Life of Pets. There’s a want to see there.

Further hurting grosses for Storks is the mediocre critical response at 62% fresh (its rating never got higher). Deadline’s sister Variety says it’s “unfunny” while New York Post‘s wisenheimer Kyle Davis complains, “Less enjoyable than making a baby but more enjoyable than raising one, the animated feature Storks delivers a bouncing bundle of blah.” Political-social satire Zootopia, Storks is not and after digesting some of the best Disney and Universal/Illumination films of the year, families are spoiled and know what toons to sidestep. Movies like Zootopia, Finding Dory and Secret Life of Pets have a “five quad” appeal, while Storks is geared toward the hand-holders. In addition, Sony Animation has a great track record for delivering solid toon properties in this frame that are either based on popular kids’ book adaptations (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) or are solid animated genre satires by mass appealing funny men (Adam Sandler’s Hotel Transylvania). They also skew older toward teens and college kids, and can bring in that extra cash. iSpot.TV reports that Warner Bros. spent an estimated $25.8M on stateside ad spot media, which is hefty by that org’s standards. And to correct what we heard from a source: Warner Bros. has already spent more on The Accountant, which opens three weeks from now, than Fox has spent in TV ads on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which is opening next week and making a go at Storks’ peeps.

Top 10 films for the weekend of Sept. 23-25 Based on industry estimates as of Saturday AM

1). Magnificent Seven  (SONY), 3,674 theaters / $12.65M Fri. (includes $1.75M previews) / 3-day cume: $35.3M /Wk 1

2). Storks  (WB), 3,922 theaters / $5.7M Fri. (includes $435K previews) / 3-day cume: $21.2M /Wk 1

3). Sully  (WB), 3,955 theaters (+430) / $4.2M Fri. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $13.9M (-36%)/Total cume: $92.5M/Wk 3

4). Bridget Jones’s Baby  (UNI), 2,930 theaters (+3)/ $1.47M Fri. (-48%) / 3-day cume: $4.8M  (-44%)/Total: $16.75M/Wk 2

5). Snowden  (OR), 2,443 theaters / $1.2M Fri. (-60%) / 3-day cume: $4.05M  (-49%)/Total: $15M/Wk 2

6). Blair Witch  (LG), 3,121 theaters / $1.24M Fri. (-70%) / 3-day cume: $3.9M  (-59%)/Total: $16.1M/Wk 2

7). Don’t Breathe (SONY), 2,438 theaters (-770) / $1.1M (-29%) Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.7M (-34%) / Total  cume: $81M / Wk 5

8). Suicide Squad (WB), 2,172 theaters (-568) / $800K Fri. (-33%) / 3-day cume: $3.1M (-35%) / Total cume: $318.1M / Wk 8

9). When the Bough Breaks  (SONY), 1,444 theaters (-802) / $716K Fri. (-55%) / 3-day cume: $2.4M (-56%) /Total cume: $26.5M/ Wk 3

10). Kubo and the Two Strings (FOC), 1,209 theaters (-548) / $255K Fri. (-50%) / 3-day cume: $1.2M (-52%) / Total cume: $46M / Wk 6

11). Hell or High Water (CBS/LG), 1,128 theaters (-377) / $330K Fri. (-47%) / 3-day cume: $1.09M (-47%) / Total cume: $24.8M / Wk 7

NOTABLES:

Hillsong  (PF), 763 theaters (-53) / $125k Fri./$160K Sat. /$120K/ 3-day cume: $405k  (-70%)/Total: $2.09M/Wk 2

Queen of Katwe  (DIS), 52 theaters / $82K Fri. /$135K Sat./$88K Sun./PTA: $5,9k 3-day cume: $305K /Wk 1

The Dressmaker  (BG), 36 theaters / $53k Fri. /$79K Sat./$48K Sun./PTA: $5k/ 3-day cume: $181k /Wk 1

3RD UPDATE, 4:41 PM: The Magnificent Seven is now projected to ride with an estimate in the high $30 million range at 3,674 theaters with a shot at $40M. Evening numbers will indicate how high we get, with Friday now projected between $12M-$13M. The remake of the 1960 John Sturges movie will likely rank as one of Denzel Washington’s top three openers and should become director Antoine Fuqua’s best debut of his career, inching out his R-rated The Equalizer, which opened to $34.1M two years ago at this time. Equalizer earned an A- CinemaScore and legged out to a near 3x multiple with a final domestic of $101.5M. Worldwide, it pulled in $192.3M off an estimated $55M budget.

For Magnificent Seven, Sony has all the PLF, Imax and Dbox venue pricing working in its favor toward this MGM/Village Roadshow/LStar Capital co-production. The film, with its huge acting ensemble including Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke, carries a $90M price tag.

In regards to how Magnificent Seven will fare overseas, well, Westerns are quite wild at the B.O. Films like True Grit and 3:10 To Yuma made 23%-32% of their global tickets sales abroad, while star-studded oaters like Cowboys & Aliens and The Lone Ranger grossed 43%-66%. Being in the Oscar mix also helps with Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight grossing $101.1M overseas (65% of worldwide) and Django Unchained drawing $262.6M (62%). Magnificent Seven opened third in South Korea making $5.1M last weekend, and rides into the UK, Russia, Spain and Germany this weekend.

Talk of a Magnificent Seven reboot started back in May 2012 when Tom Cruise was in talks for the project. Nic Pizzolatto, who went on to write and exec produce HBO’s True Detective, wrote a draft and John Lee Hancock came on to rewrite. Two years later, Washington and Fuqua boarded prior to the release of Equalizer. By the end of 2014, Pratt was in talks following his breakout success in Guardians Of The Galaxy.

We might need to stick a fork in Warner Bros’ StorksOne set of rival estimates show the latest animated title from the Burbank lot at $19.6M after a $5.5M Friday — eeesh. Warner Bros will have better news looking at third place on the box office chart, which is where Sully is expected to land with $12.4M, -43%, for a $91M running total through its third session.

Bridget Jones's Baby

Universal/Studio Canal/Working Title/Miramax’s Bridget Jones’s Baby will rank fourth with $4.2M, -51% for $16.1M through 10 days, while Open Road’s Snowden is fifth with a second weekend of $3.8M, -53% for a 10-day run of $14.8M.

More later tonight.

2ND UPDATE, noon: Here’s a quick update of what we’re seeing from matinees. This comes from rival estimates: Sony/MGM/Village Roadshow/LStar’s Magnificent Seven is galloping off with a $14M Friday and a potential $40M weekend. That would give director Antoine Fuqua the best opening of his career, easily eclipsing The Equalizer and it’s bound to rank among Denzel Washington’s top three openings alongside American Gangster ($43.6M) and Safe House ($40M). We’re told that’s not bad for a movie that carries a production cost of $90M.

Warner Bros.’ Storks is doing less than what we thought with a $5M Friday, flying to a $20M weekend. The thing to remember with these kids’ pics is that they pop on Saturday, and they leg out eventually. Again, all these figures could change by evening. Despite the competitive headwind, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Sully is maintaining a great altitude, down 35-40% for the weekend with $13M-$14M putting its cume through three weekends at close to $93M. Universal’s Bridget Jones’s Baby is projected to be down 40% with $5.1M and a 10-day take of $17M. Lionsgate’s Blair Witch is dropping at least 60% to $3.8M and a 10-day of $15.9M. Open Road’s Snowden is -50% with $4M and $15M.

UPDATE, Early Friday AM: Antoine Fuqua’s Western remake got a solid start in 3,096 theaters last night. The Sony/MGM/Village Roadshow/LStar Capital co-production is expected to top the box office this weekend with a take between $30M-$35M. The Magnificent Seven‘s $1.75M beats the $1.45M that Denzel Washington and Fuqua’s previous movie The Equalizer made on its way to a $12.5M Friday and a $34.1M weekend in 2014. That movie repped a career-record opening for Fuqua. Magnificent Seven‘s previews also blow away the $1.27M made by Washington and Mark Wahlberg’s 2 Guns, which posted a $9.9M Friday and $27.1M weekend in 2013.

As of this morning, the Denzel Washington-Chris Pratt-Ethan Hawke ensemble is No. 1 in advance ticket sales on Fandango, repping 40% of the weekend. Earlier this week, the ticket agency noticed that Magnificent Seven was pacing ahead of Equalizer. Males repped 52% of the audience on that movie, with 35% under 25. Equalizer received an A- CinemaScore. That film was rated R vs. Magnificent Seven‘s PG-13.

Magnificent Seven carries a Rotten Tomatoes grade of 63%, which is so-so for an adult skewing feature, and if reviews were higher, we’d see an opening well north of $35M. When the film came on to tracking four weeks ago, some rivals had it at $50M, but as is typical with most tentpoles, particularly when they outshine the other movies on tracking, they start out big in their projections and gradually simmer down close to opening. Sony screened Magnificent Seven at both the Toronto and Venice film festivals.

storks

In previous Septembers at this time, Sony whetted family appetites for big animated films, and last year it hit an opening record for the month with Hotel Transylvania 2 at $48.5M. This weekend, Warner Bros is offering families its animated feature Storks. Unlike other distributors that sidestep Thursday night previews during the thick of school season, Warner Bros. showed off Storks last night and grabbed $435K. The pic is directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland. Last night’s cash beats the preview figures of DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, which made $265K before minting an $11.6M Friday and $43.6M weekend in 2013. Storks is expected to slot second this weekend with $28M to low-$30Ms. We’re already hearing that matinees are quite strong.  

Warner Bros.’ Sully took the No. 1 spot Thursday among all movies in play with $1.7M, for a two-week cume of $78.56M. The Clint Eastwood movie starring Tom Hanks as U.S. Airways hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger is expected to take in $10M-$11M, down 50% from last weekend. On the specialty side, Disney has Mira Nair’s Queen Of Katwe opening in 52 metropolitan locations with an eye at $7K-$10K per venue. Broad Green is opening Amazon’s quirky Kate Winslet comedy The Dressmaker at 34 theaters in nine markets: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C. The movie, co-produced with Universal Australia, was acquired out of TIFF last year.