Bruce Willis franchise installment A Good Day to Die Hard and Nicholas Sparks' romantic drama Safe Haven are finding themselves in a relatively close race at the Valentine's Day box office.
Matinee and early Thursday evening ticket sales suggest that 20th Century Fox's Die Hard 5 will earn in the $10 million range for the day, including $840,000 in Wednesday night previews.
Relativity Media's Safe Haven, benefiting from couples celebrating the sweetheart's holiday, could likewise hit $10 million for the day, although conservative estimates have the film grossing $8 million to $9 million.
The playing field should change dramatically once Valentine's Day is over and the long President's Day weekend gets underway. Die Hard 5 is expected to easily top the frame with a five-day debut in the $45 million to $50 million range.
Safe Haven is projected to post a five-day opening of $22 million to $27 million.
The third new Valentine's Day nationwide release is romantic fantasy Beautiful Creatures, based on the first book in the YA Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The movie, from Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., is pacing to gross in the $3 million to $4 million range on Thursday and in the $20 million range for the five-day stretch.
One issue for Safe Haven and Beautiful Creatures -- both are competing for females.
Die Hard 5, directed by John Moore and co-starring Jai Courtney, is tracking well among males of all ages -- and among older females. In this outing, the iconic action hero John McClane travels to Moscow to rescue his son (Courtney), a CIA operative played who's in some nasty trouble.
Safe Haven is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Julianne Hough as a young woman who returns to her hometown only to gripped by a dark secret from her past, even as she falls for a stranger (Josh Duhamel).
Directed and scripted by Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures stars Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich. The story revolves around Lena Duchannes (Englert), whose special powers has long kept her separated from others. Moving to a new town, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich), but their budding relationship is threatened by an ancient battle between good and evil.