Positive buzz has been building for the young adult film The Maze Runner in the critics circles and that word-of-mouth helped the Fox release earn $1.1 million at Thursday night showings from 2,200 locations to blaze a trail toward a probably top finish at the weekend box office.
The Maze Runner is a rare example of a young adult adaptation geared towards boys and without a love story or triangle at its core. It stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter, and was produced for an estimated $33 million.
If current projections hold then The Maze Runner should earn between $25 and $30 million for the weekend. That puts it in the same range as another young adult film geared toward boys, Ender’s Game, which came in at $27 million. The big difference between the two films is Lionsgate spent around $110 million to produce Ender’s Game and finished its worldwide box office run at $120 million, far less than it needed to green light a sequel based on the popular book series of the same name.
The Maze Runner movie is based on the first book in a trilogy by author James Dashner. The sequels are titled The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, and one or both have a legitimate shot of making it to the big screen if the first movie continues on its current path.
The theater location count for The Maze Runner will expand to approximately 3,500 today as it takes on fellow newcomers A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson, and This Is Where I Leave You featuring an ensemble cast of Adam Driver, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and Rose Byrne.