In a box office upset, Now You See Me beat Will Smith's sci-fi adventure After Earth as the two films rolled out in theaters Thursday night.
After Earth, which stars Will Smith opposite his son Jaden Smith, grossed a tepid $1 million, while Summit's Now You See Me grossed $1.5 million. The magician heist pic opened launched at 7 p.m., two hours earlier than Sony's After Earth.
Box office observers don't expect Now You See Me to beat After Earth for the weekend, however. Although Will Smith is still considered one of the world's top stars in terms of box office might, After Earth may only debut to $35 million, the lowest opening in recent times for a summer film starring the actor.
Universal's Fast and Furious 6 is widely expected to stay at No. 1 in its second weekend with a gross in the $50 million range.
After Earth is a passion project for Will Smith, who produced the film for Sony via his Overbrook Films and tapped M. Night Shyamalan's hire to direct the $130 million film. His character sits out much of the action in the film, with Jaden Smith taking top billing.
Sony hopes that After Earth will attract audiences with its father-son bonding story, but Shyamalan's 10th directorial project has been dismally reviewed.
Now You See Me, from Summit Entertainment, has been gaining strength in recent days. Directed by Louis Leterrier, the indie pic's ensemble cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco. Many believe the film could now cross $20 million in its debut.