New Line and Legendary Pictures are bracing for a tough weekend after a poor showing by 3D tentpole Jack and the Giant Slayer at the Friday box office.
From Bryan Singer, Jack earned a disappointing $7.7 million to top the chart, but it was something of a hollow victory.
That puts the year's first tentpole on course for a weekend opening in the $24 million to $25 million range, not enough considering the movie cost nearly $300 million, including a $195 production budget. Last year, Battleship -- costing in the neighborhood of Jack -- debuted to $8.8 million on Friday for a $25.5 million weekend.
New Line and parent company Warner Bros. are hoping that Jack, loosely based on the classic British story Jack and the Beanstalk, picks up the pace on Saturday as families become available. Although it is rated PG, Warners believes the 3D event pic is well suited for older kids.
Jack, starring Nicholas Hoult in the title role, earned a B+ CinemaScore.
New Line and its parent company Warner Bros. already are counting on strong international business to make up for any deficit in North America. Their hopes are being fulfilled so far in seven Asian markets where Jack opened on Thursday, grossing a total of $2.5 million, ahead of Wrath of the Titans ($2.1 million) and Journey 2: Mysterious Island ($1.3 million), both of which were successes.
Moviegoing was soft overall in North America on Friday, with new entries 21 & Over and The Last Exorcism Part II placing No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with a modest $3.4 million and $3.3 million. Each is expected to post gross in the $8 million range for the weekend.
New independent thriller Phantom, from RCR, is only expected to open to a dismal $500,000, one of the worst openings of all time.
Universal's Identity Thief could beat both films and rise to No. 2 for the weekend. On Friday, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy became the first movie of the year to cross $100 million.