Weekend Box Office: Who’s In First?

It was a tight battle of the sci-fi sequels at the North America box office this weekend. Fox’s Alien: Covenant debuted at the top spot, with Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two nipping at its heels in second. With under a million dollars separating the two estimates, the two films could wind up trading places once the final numbers are reported.

Five years after Prometheus brought the dormant Alien franchise back to life with a series-high $126 million gross, its follow up Alien: Covenant arrived on 3,761 theaters Friday where it earned an estimated $36 million. While the opening for Covenant is commendable given its “R” rating, it was 40% lower than the $51 million its predecessor kicked off with.

The critical and public reception for Alien: Covenant was practically identical to Prometheus. Covenant scored a 73% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, just slightly above Prometheus’ 72%. On CinemaScore, opening day viewers gave the film a middling “B” rating, which was the same grade scored by Prometheus. Should Covenant follow Prometheus’ North American box office trajectory, it could be looking at a final box office haul around the $85-90 million mark.

As with many a tired franchise, Alien: Covenant will have to cast its financial eyes overseas for salvation. So far, foreign markets have been kinder to the sixth Alien feature. After opening a week ahead of the North American start, the Ridley Scott feature has scored a decent $81 million so far.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two may have abdicated the box office throne to Alien: Covenant, but that didn’t stop it from continuing to be a major box office draw. In its third round on 4,347 screens, the Marvel Studios blockbuster earned an estimated $35.1 million. Off only 46%, Guardians V2 has pocketed $302 million so far. A final domestic haul north of $370 million is a possibility. Overseas, the film has collected $431 million to date.

In a bit of counterprogramming, MGM opened the $10 million teen drama Everything, Everything on 2,801 screens Friday where it scored a moderate $12 million. Based on the young adult novel, Everything was met with middling reviews from critics -43% approval on Rotten Tomatoes-, but scored with viewers. They gave the film an “A-“ CinemaScore rating.

In its second weekend, Fox’s Snatched fell a steep 61% on 3,511 screens. The critically slammed Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy earned an estimated $7.6 million, bringing its ten-day total to $33 million. A final haul around $45 million is a possibility.

Rounding out the top five was the weekend’s third new film and Fox’s third release in the top five: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The fourth -and most likely, final- film adaptation of the popular kids book series opened on 3,157 screens this weekend where it scored a measly $7.2 million. The press hated it – 19% on Rotten Tomatoes- and ticket buyers didn’t seem all that jazzed with it either. They gave it a “B” on CinemaScore.

6. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner) $6.85 million (-55%); $27 million
7. The Fate of the Furious (Universal) $3.1 million (-41%); $220 million

8. The Boss Baby (Fox/Dreamworks) $2.8 million (-38%); $166 million
9. Beauty and the Beast (2017) (Disney) $2.4 million (-50%); $498 million

10. How to Be a Latin Lover (Lionsgate/Pantellion) $2.2 million (-43%); $29.4 million

Captain Jack Sparrow returns to movie screens this week with the fifth chapter of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dead Men Tell No Tales. Jack will be joined by the R-rated comedy Baywatch, which gets a jump on Pirates by opening on Thursday instead of Friday. Early estimates peg Pirates to rule Memorial Day weekend with an opening north of $90 million.

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