Sony's new animated offering, Smurfs: The Lost Village, is getting trounced at the North American box office by fellow family films The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast, which are in a close battle for the weekend crown.
Projections show Smurfs 3 earning $14.5 million for the weekend, putting the film in third place - unless Village Roadshow and New Line's Going in Style, targeting older adults, continues to overperform.
In a surprise twist, Going in Style grossed $4.2 million on Friday, narrowly besting Smurfs' $4.12 million. Tradition would dictate that Lost Village will pass up Going in Style on Saturday, thanks to families. Going in Style is tipped to earn $12 million-$13 million at this point, versus an expected $8 million.
Fox and DreamWorks Animation's Boss Baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast are projected to gross in the $26 million range in their second and fourth weekends, respectively.
Sony is banking on Smurfs: Lost Village, which managed to nab an A CinemaScore from audiences, to reinvigorate the franchise after Smurfs 2, which opened in August 2013 to $17.5 million, topped out at $347.5 million worldwide, far less than the $563.7 million global tally for The Smurfs in summer 2011. Lost Village will have to do huge business overseas if Sony is to get its wish.
The new film centers on a mysterious map that sets Smurfette (Demi Lovato) and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello and Jack McBrayer are among the voice cast. Kelly Asbury (Gnomeo & Juliet) directed.
Going in Style, directed by Zach Braff, is a remake of the 1979 heist film hopes to have a long run, considering its target demo don't immediately rush out to the theaters. Audiences gave the film a B+
The weekend's third new nationwide offering is The Case for Christ, an independent film distributed by Pure Flix Films. The faith-based drama looks to debut in the $4 million-$5 million range, and scored a coveted A+ CinemaScore.
Based on the book of the same name, The Case for Christ tells the story of a self-avowed atheist and journalist who sets out to disprove his wife's newfound Christian faith. The Case for Christ stars Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster.
At the specialty box office, Niki Caro's The Zookeeper's Wife is expanding into a total of 804 theaters after a limited debut last weekend. The Focus Features film, starring Jessica Chastain, earned roughly $812,260 on Friday for a projected $2.5 million weekend a domestic cume of $7.2 million.
April 7, 12:30 Updated with revised weekend projections.
April 8, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.