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Box office preview: Fate of the Furious to lap competitors again

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A24 Films; Warner Bros; Universal Pictures

A handful of new wide releases storm theaters this Friday, including the ensemble crime spectacle Free Fire, campy thriller Unforgettable, and the historical romance The Promise. Can any of them successfully challenge last week’s champion, The Fate of the Furious, for the No. 1 slot? It doesn’t look like it, but here’s how the rest of the top ten could shape up over the April 21-23 period.

1 – The Fate of the Furious – $41 million 

They often zoom off with staggering debuts, but Fast and the Furious franchise entries typically sputter out of control on the second lap. Furious 7 fell 59.5 percent from its lofty $147 million debut in 2015, while Fast & Furious 6 tumbled over 60 percent from its $97.4 million bow two years prior. As F8 launched with significantly less ticket sales than its most recent predecessor, it’s shaping up to crash accordingly. A lack of competition could soften the blow, but F8 is likely to hit a $40 million target this weekend for a 60 percent decline.

2 – Unforgettable – $11 million 

Its trailers recall the campy vibe of similar thrillers like Obsessed and The Perfect Guyand that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While those films didn’t exactly land with movie critics, they were both box office successes, pulling in, respectively, $68 million and $57 million domestically on modest budgets. Seemingly going after the same demographic, Unforgettable boasts a $12 million budget and a prestigious cast, including Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, but its titillating trailers — and over-the-top premise — should fill seats (albeit to a notably lesser degree) than its genre forerunners.

3 – The Boss Baby – $9 million

The most prominent family film on the market slides further down the top five as it makes its way toward $150 million domestically.

4 – Beauty and the Beast – $8.5 million 

Disney’s live-action adaptation has single-handedly carried the studio’s yearly worldwide box office total to over $1 billion and counting. It should continue its slow descent down the North American chart in the weeks ahead, following an aggressive dominance of the global market.

5 – Free Fire – $5.5 million 

A24 opens its festival thriller Free Fire in wide release this Friday, and with the Oscar-verified talents of Brie Larson fronting its bullet-riddled narrative, the film should do decent business with an average of roughly $4,000-5,000 per screen at just over 1,000 theaters by Sunday’s end.

Outside the top five, look for the Oscar Isaac historical romance The Promise — also starring Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon — to pull in roughly $3-5 million with middling critical reviews weighing it down at just over 2,200 sites.

Disney’s nature documentary Born in China (1,508 theaters) should also perform well with families, likely earning somewhere in the $3-6 million range. The Disneynature division hasn’t opened a title above $10.7 million in its eight-year history, with all of its titles grossing, on average, between $4-6 million.

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James Gray’s jungle-set drama Lost City of Z additionally expands (approximately 750 theaters) after posting stellar numbers in limited release last week, and is looking to cross the finish line with anywhere between $1.5-3 million over the three-day frame ahead.

Cinelou’s alien horror flick Phoenix Forgotten is also after audience attention in the days ahead, though its muted profile will result in a muted performance. Expect the found footage genre picture to bag around $1-2 million.

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