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‘Power Rangers’, ‘CHIPS’ & A Deep-Space Alien Won’t Take This ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Down – Weekend Box Office Preview

Deadline logo Deadline 3/22/2017 Anthony D'Alessandro
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Three new major studio releases this weekend will find it impossible to cut into Beauty and the Beast‘s dance at the box office, which is well on its way to crossing $300M.

The live action Disney musical has already accumulated $206.2M after $17.9M yesterday, charting the best pre-summer Tuesday of all-time (the studio just reported their official morning figures) — and that was with 11% K-12 and 15% colleges off. In its second go-round, Beauty and the Beast stands to make $80M. Comparing the film to another big grosser, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, that pic opened to $179.1M and fell 60% in its second weekend to $72.6M. The observation there is that fanboy movies are top heavy, hence the drop.  But despite Beauty and the Beast‘s groundswell of millennial fangirls, the film also appeals to those 5 years of age to 90, and it’s that generational appeal which is fueling the pic’s legs.

Of the three wide entries — Sony’s LifeWarner Bros.’ CHIPS and Lionsgate’s millennial reboot of Saban’s The Power Rangersit’s the latter that is forecasted to place second with an opening between $30M-$40M on 3,693 screens. Lionsgate’s m.o. was to give this 25-year old beloved franchise of martial-art fighting helmet headed superheros a dusting off, providing a grounded Hunger Games-like vibe with a Transformers-like touch that grown-up fans would savor. The brand itself, created by Haim Saban and Toei Company Ltd., has logged some 831 episodes on TV to date, with toy sales far and above $6 billion (and that figure was from 16 years ago!).  At the height of the Power Rangers-mania in the mid-90s when it was on Fox TV, there was actually a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers feature film. But the movie was made with the same production quality as its TV counterpart off an estimated $15M budget and in the end didn’t resonate with the masses or the fans because it didn’t offer anything beyond what they could see at home. Domestic final: a measly $38.1M stateside. This Power Rangers is scripted by Flight Oscar nominee John Gatins and directed by Dean Israelite, and it yearns to wow with an estimated $100M production cost. Pic will open tomorrow night in previews in the U.S./Canada at 7PM and also rolls out in 62 international territories, including the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and CIS/Russia.

On Fandango, Beauty and the Beast continues to lead all weekend pre-sales with Power Rangers besting the advance tickets tallies of The Maze Runner ($32.5M opening).

Sony has the Skydance sci-fi production Life about a space station crew that discover something wonderful, only to realize it’s really life threatening. Pic stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson and it’s expected to ring up between $15M-$20M at 3,125 locations. The movie marks the second studio release from director Daniel Espinosa who hit box office gold with the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds spy movie Safe House ($126.3M domestic, $208M worldwide). That movie cost $85M, and this one set in space cost a reported $58M before P&A. To further boost Life‘s visibility, Sony closed the SXSW festival with it.  Life begins tomorrow night in 2,500 venues at 7PM.

While Power Rangers is rated PG-13, Life and Warner Bros.’ big screen take of the NBC 1980s hit TV series CHIPS are both competing for older males given their R-rating. And business becomes more complicated when you realize Logan is still going strong in the market, as well as other guy faves like Get Out and Kong: Skull Island. Dax Shepard wrote and directed this bromance action comedy which tracking pegs at $10M-$12M over three days at 2,400 locations. Michael Pena and Shepard star in the respective iconic roles of California Highway patrolmen Ponch and Jon. CHIPS marks the third feature directorial from Shepard after microbudget titles Brother’s Justice and 2012’s Hit and Run which cost $2M and made close to $15M worldwide.

Rotten Tomatoes scores for both Life and Power Rangers are still too low in their review count to report. CHIPS‘ all media screening is tonight in Hollywood.

Just based off the top four films, this weekend looks to ring up well beyond $135M in total ticket sales, putting it on course to outpace last year’s comparative late March weekend which made $131.3M.

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