DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby is giving reigning champ Beauty and the Beast a run for its money at the box office this Friday, according to early estimates.
Both films look as if they will be collecting about $12.5 million for the day - although Baby's haul includes the $1.5 million it collected at Thursday night previews. During the course of the weekend, Disney's Beauty is expected to pull ahead, grossing a number in the high $40-million range for the three days, while Baby, released by Fox, will probably check in above expectations in the low $40-million neighborhood.
As for the weekend's other new wide release, Paramount's Scarlett Johansson-starrer Ghost in the Shell roped in $1.8 million at its Thursday night showings. It appears headed to about $8.5 million for the day (including its Thursday night coin) and a weekend in the low-to-mid $20 million area.
That will leave holdover Beauty in the top spot for the third week in a row. Disney's live-action hit has been breaking records and raking in tickets sales for the past two weeks. The Emma Watson-starring fairytale has already earned north of $348 million domestically and $760 million worldwide.
DWA's The Boss Baby is opening in 3,773 locations as it heads for the second spot. The PG-rated, CG-animated movie stars Alec Baldwin, who voices the character of a business-minded, bossy baby who is on a secret mission. The film is based on the 2010 children's book written and illustrated by Marla Frazee. Tom McGrath directed the pic, which has a voice cast that also includes Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Miles Christopher Bakshi and Tobey Maguire.
Ghost in the Shell is expected to lock up the third spot, ahead of holdovers Power Rangers and Kong: Skull Island, as it bows in 3,440 sites. It won't do the stellar numbers that Johansson's Lucy earned in 2014 when it took in $2.8 million in previews on its way to a $43.9 million domestic debut. Paramount is offering up 10 Cloverfield Lane as a comp, since that film earned $1.8 million Thursday for a $24.7 million opening weekend.
Johansson stars as a cyber-enhanced soldier heading a counter-terrorism unit as she tries to uncover her past in the stylish, futuristic film helmed by Rupert Sanders. The story is adapted from the Japanese manga by Shirow Masamune, and also stars "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche.
The PG-13 sci-fi film cost $110 million and was produced by Paramount, DreamWorks and Reliance Entertainment. It also opens in more than 50 international markets this weekend, and will open in China on April 7.
March 31, 12:55 p.m.: Updated to include latest Friday estimates