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Box office preview: Neil Blomkamp makes his return with 'Chappie'

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This weekend’s new offerings are quite the variety: There’s Neil Blomkamp’s Chappie, a South Africa-set sci-fi film about a robot. Then there’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the follow-up to 2012’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel marketed toward the elderly (really: the first film’s full title was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful). And finally, there’s sure-to-be-raunchy comedy Unfinished Business. To say the audiences for these three films don’t exactly overlap would be an understatement.

Although Chappie’s likely to be the frontrunner by a longshot, there’s a chance the other two will earn places in the box office top five too. Here’s how it might play out.

1. Chappie — $20 million

Blomkamp’s best known for District 9his 2009 Best Picture nominee that opened with an impressive $37.4 million. Then things went downhill from there: He released Elysium almost exactly four years later in August 2013, and although the film debuted with a completely fine $29.8 million, it was considered a disappointing follow-up to District 9 by most. That soured the filmmaker’s reputation a bit, but not enough to discourage his fans from seeing Chappie—what might discourage potential moviegoers though are the reviews: So far, it has a 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

2. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — $9.6 million

The first Marigold Hotel opened with $6.4 million in 2012, but this one might bring in more money thanks to the buzz its predecessor created among certain crowds. Plus, it has a star-studded cast featuring—among others—Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Richard Gere.

3. Focus — $9.4 million

The Will Smith-led Focus had its day last weekend when it topped the box office with its $18.7 million debut—but that day will probably be over this weekend as it has renewed competition in the forms of Chappie and Unfinished Business. Although it shouldn’t experience any Fifty Shades-level drop, it wouldn’t be surprising to see its gross decrease by around 50 percent this weekend.

4. Unfinished Business — $9 million

Vince Vaughn hasn’t found too much box office success with his more recent comedies, and Unfinished Business isn’t likely to signal a commercial comeback—especially because Vaughn’s the only A-list star headlining the film (Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco are famous, sure, but not necessarily box-office draws). Made on a $35 million budget, Unfinished Business won’t be breaking even this weekend, but it should land somewhere in the $10 million range.

5. Kingsman: The Secret Service — $7.1 million

Kingsman and SpongeBob have been bringing in similar numbers the past few weeks, so it’s hard to predict which one will come out ahead this time around. But Kingsman did beat SpongeBob by a tiny bit last weekend—they made $7.1 million and $6.5 million, respectively—so it’s likely Kingsman will be the winner once again this time around (unless theaters see an increase in family viewers, who have few other kid-appropriate options right now).