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Box Office: ‘Fate of the Furious’ Dominates; ‘Unforgettable,’ ‘The Promise’ Tanking

Variety logo Variety 4/21/2017 Dave McNary
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“The Fate of the Furious” is dominating the domestic office again with around $38 million this weekend while moviegoers are mostly shunning Katherine Heigl’s “Unforgettable,” early results showed Friday.

Open Road’s launch of expensive historical drama “The Promise” has seen estimates from just $4 million to a surprisingly optimistic $10 million at 2,251 locations. Either way, an opening that will likely be in the single digits of millions is a disappointing result for the Armenian genocide story that carries a $100 million price tag, much of it coming from the late Kirk Kerkorian.

Universal’s second frame of “Fate of the Furious” is declining by about 62% from its $98.8 million North American launch but its international performance — which totaled $433 million in its launch weekend — should remain robust for several more weeks. It’s a similar decline to “Furious 7,” which fell 58% two years ago in its second domestic weekend.

Warner Bros.’ thriller “Unforgettable” is failing to live up to its title at multiplexes. Recent estimates had indicated that the film would finish in the $7 million range but have been downgraded to a finish in the $4 million to $5 million range at 2,417 locations.

Directed by longtime producer Denise Di Novi, “Unforgettable” centers on Heigl’s divorced character tormenting Dawson, who portrays the new fiancee of Heigl’s ex-husband. The film carries a modest $12 million price tag.

Disney’s nature documentary “Born in China” is performing at the top end of expectations with as much as $7 million at 1,506 locations for the weekend — timed to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday. John Krasinski narrates the film, centered on wildlife and natural beauty including footage of endangered snow leopards and giant pandas.

Cinelou Films is launching sci-fi horror movie “Phoenix Forgotten” at 1,592 sites with expectations of a $2 million weekend. Directed by Justin Barber, “Phoenix Forgotten” is centered around three teenagers who disappear after investigating a 1997 UFO sighting in Arizona.

A24’s opening of Ben Wheatley’s British action-comedy “Free Fire” at 1,070 venues generated minimal interest among moviegoers with a Friday estimate in the $800,000 range. The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Jack Reynor.

Fox’s fourth weekend of animated comedy “The Boss Baby” will likely finish in second around $8 million at 3,697 locations. “The Boss Baby,” produced by DreamWorks Animation, has topped $123 million domestically in a solid performance.

Disney’s sixth weekend of blockbuster “Beauty and the Beast” should come in fourth with around $7 million at 3,315 venues. “Beauty and the Beast” has taken in $461 million domestically to eclipse 1977’s “Star Wars” as the 10th highest domestic grosser of all time.

Bleecker Street’s expansion of “The Lost City of Z” was pegged to finish the weekend with $2.5 million at 614 sites.

Year-to-date box office is up 5.1% to $3.47 billion as of April 19, according to comScore, thanks to strong performances by “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Boss Baby,” “Fate of the Furious,” “Logan,” “Split,” and “Get Out.”

“This calm before the proverbial summer box office storm will allow for the late April debuting films to get a seat at the table before the start of the summer box office party that begins with the debut of “Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2” in two weeks,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “‘The Fate of the Furious’ is poised for another killer international showing this weekend where it has been outgunning its North American gross by nearly five to one.”

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