Another ‘Furious’ Weekend As ‘Paul Blart’ Sequel And Blumhouse Horror Film Face Off – Box Office Preview

Universal Pictures’ Furious 7 is expected to have another weekend atop the box office Top 10and will likely stay put until Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron stops it in its tracks May 1. We say this because the franchise film dropped 60% last weekend and still drove in with a $59.6M prize. Will the comedy sequel Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 be scared away from the No. 2 spot by another horror film from Blumhouse? Let take a look:

Six years. That’s how long its been since the first Paul Blart Mall Cop opened. That would be 2009, when this concept really appealed to the blue-collar worker in a time of economic depression … it’s a very different environment now. Kevin James returns as the older (but not necessarily wiser) security guard who goes on vacation with his teenage daughter. The first Mall Cop opened in January to $31.8M. The sequel is expected to pale in comparison with an estimated opening in the mid-to-high teens (maybe closer to mid), others say it could possibly go over $20M … we’ll see. It opened last weekend in four international markets to grab $2.6M and opens Down Under and in Mexico this weekend.

It bows in about 3,633 theaters stateside this weekend after a 7 PM preview on roughly 2,596 screens Thursday. Sony is hoping for a decent multiple on this one as the last one had a 4.5, which was excellent. Both were PG-rated films.

Meanwhile, Universal/Blumhouse’s new horror flick Unfriended is being compared to The Purge: Anarchy which bowed in the peak of the summer and scared in a total of $29.8M last year. However, Unfriended is tracking differently with heightened interest from males, where Purge: Anarchy had a much higher female interest. Estimates at the moment are around low-to-mid teens. The scare fest gets its preview at 8 PM Thursday before releasing wide in 2,739 theaters on Friday.

This R-rated film is actually getting some decent reviews and is 85% fresh with a 91% want to see on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though the RT score is high, industry experts familiar with this picture expect that to go down significantly once the major critics weigh in. Right now it was reviewed by a select few bloggers (yep, opening weekend is all in the marketing). Most of these horror films tend to garner around a C CinemaScore. Naturally, with horror films, it will likely have a strong late night Friday.

In the No. 4 spot this weekend, we expect Home to continue its run with the family audience. To date, the DreamWorks Animation/Fox release has taken in $130M domestically. The Longest Ride should fall in after that with a big drop its second weekend out.

Another opener — Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom — is tracking not unlike Bears, which opened on April 18 last year and ended up with an opening of $4.7M and a domestic run of $17.7M, which is a nice multiple. It bows on Thursday night at 7 PM and is expected anywhere between $5M-$7M. Chimpanzees opened to $10.6M in 2012. All of them are scheduled to open to as close to Earth Day as possible. This year it falls on a Wednesday, April 22.

Will also be watching the grosses on a couple of films in limited release: First, the sci-fi drama Ex Machina from A24 which had stellar per screen average last weekend. The film about artificial intelligence stars Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson. It’s being distributed quite well and will go wide April 24. Interestingly, both Isaac and Gleeson have roles in the next Star Wars installment.

Also opening is Child 44 from Lionsgate which stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace which is not expected to do much business on a limited run of around 500 spots. The film, based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith, starts its international rollout this weekend in about 20 markets including the UK, Brazil and France.

Also in limited release is the James Franco-Jonah Hill drama/thriller True Story which may get some play, given the cast.

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