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Box office preview: Idris Elba and dolphins energize a slow September

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No Good Deed
Quantrell Colbert

After last weekend’s DOA box office results, audiences are finally getting some new blood in theaters with the family flick Dolphin Tale 2 and Idris Elba’s No Good Deed set to open wide on Friday. The two films could be fighting for the No. 1 spot, too, with various analysts predicting $20 million weekend takes for both. According to Fandango, their ticket pre-sales are nearly identical.

Fox Searchlight is also debuting its James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy crime drama The Drop in around 800 theaters, and the well-reviewed The Skeleton Twins and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them open in limited release, too, giving audiences more options than they’ve had in quite some time in this strange post-blockbuster, pre-awards period.

Here’s how things might play out.

1. Dolphin Tale 2 $20 million

Three years after Dolphin Tale opened to $19.2 million (and went on to gross $95.4 million worldwide), the PG-rated sequel, starring Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman, is looking to open around $20 million. The Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment film cost a reported $36 million to produce. It finds Winter in the wake of her surrogate mother’s death and follows the Clearwater Marine Hospital‘s team in their hunt to find a tank companion for her. Reviews have been largely positive, too, with a 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. No Good Deed $17 million

Idris Elba stars in this thriller from director Sam Miller (Luther) as an escaped convict who charms his way into the home of Taraji P. Henson’s character after she tries to help him by letting him use her phone. Things take a turn for the worse when he invades her home and she finds herself fighting for her and her family’s survival. The Screen Gems feature, which cost a reported $13.2 million to produce, should at least open in the mid- to high teens, but some are saying that it could possibly earn over $20 million and beat out Dolphin Tale 2. Reviews for this one won’t surface until Friday, though.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy  $7 million

Guardians will definitely pass $300 million domestically this weekend.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $4 million

The $125 million TMNT will probably take in around $4 million, bringing its domestic total to around $180 million. It’s already made over $300 million worldwide.

5. If I Stay & Let’s Be Cops $3.5 million

These two were neck-and-neck last weekend and might continue to have the same weekend drops as the teen drama If I Stay enters weekend four and the Fox comedy Let’s Be Cops, a surprise hit despite pretty bad reviews, finishes out its fifth weekend in theaters.

Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.

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