Be prepared for another quiet frame at the U.S. box office on the last weekend before the summer season kicks off May 5.
The biggest new offering that opens Friday is filmmaker James Ponsoldt's The Circle, an indie thriller about the dangers of the high-tech age starring Emma Watson, who is coming off the billion-dollar blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, and Tom Hanks. The film is projected to open in the $11 million-$12 million range from 3,163 theaters.
That won't be enough to drive The Fate of the Furious off the road. The latest installment in Universal's action franchise is tipped to earn $25 million or more domestically in its third weekend. Globally, Fate of the Furious will zoom past the $1 billion mark sometime on Friday or Saturday.
While traffic might be slow at North America multiplexes, that won't be the case overseas, where Disney and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is rolling out in its first 37 territories a week before landing in the U.S. The quirky superhero sequel is projected to score $100 million or more in its offshore launch. It is already pacing well ahead of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Circle, produced by Parkes+MacDonald, cost $18 million to make before marketing and was fully financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. STX Entertainment is releasing it via its deal with EuropaCorp, which acquired the pic for $8 million.
Set in the not-too-distant future and based on the book by Dave Eggers, The Circle tells the story of a young woman who lands a dream job at a powerful tech company and becomes part of a nefarious experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and freedom. John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton also star.
The weekend's other two new offerings - the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover and the sci-fi drama Sleight - are more targeted in their scope and will have a much smaller footprint in terms of theater count.
How to Be a Latin Lover, starring Eugenio Derbez opposite Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raphael Alejandro, Raquel Welch and Rob Riggle, is projected to gross $5 million-$7 million from roughly 1,000 locations. The movie is from Pantelion Films, a joint venture backed by Lionsgate and Televisa. Derbez, whose 2013 film Instructions Not Included was a sleeper hit, boasts a devoted fanbase.
Sleight, from Blumhouse's genre label BH Tilt, is tipped to earn under $2 million from 500 theaters. The film revolves around a young street magician who must use his wits and tricks to save his sister from kidnappers. Jacob Latimore, Dule Hill, Seychelle Gabriel and Storm Reid star.