Maze Runner: The Death Cure has the prescription for a box office victory.
The third installment of Fox’s dystopian YA franchise is poised to debut with about $23.5 million at 3,787 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, dethroning Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle while also outpacing the gritty western Hostiles.
The Death Cure’s bow should come in at the higher end of analysts’ projections, but below its series predecessors. The original Maze Runner opened with $32.5 million in 2014, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials took in $30.6 million a year later. Overseas, The Death Cure is set to add an estimated $62.7 million this weekend, bringing its international cume to $82 million and its worldwide total to $105.5 million.
Directed once again by Wes Ball and based on James Dashner’s best-selling book series, The Death Cure stars Dylan O’Brien as the leader of a band of teenagers battling a shadowy organization in a post-apocalyptic society ravaged by a zombie-like outbreak. The threequel, which was delayed a year when O’Brien was seriously injured on set, received mixed reviews and a decent B-plus CinemaScore.
After three weeks at the top and six weeks in theaters, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is dropping down to second place with an estimated $16.4 million, bringing its domestic total to $338 million. The film, which has shown remarkable staying power, is also up to $484 million overseas.
The Jake Kasdan-directed follow-up to 1995’s Jumanji centers on a video game that draws players into its world and stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart.
Claiming the No. 3 spot in its first weekend of wide release is Entertainment Studios’ Hostiles, with an estimated $10.2 million at 2,816 theaters (up from 119 locations last week). Starring Christian Bale, Wes Studi, and Rosamund Pike, and directed by Scott Cooper (Black Mass), the frontier drama will have grossed about $12.1 million since beginning its rollout in late December.
Hostiles received generally positive reviews but a lukewarm B CinemaScore.
Filling out the top five are two more Fox films: Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum musical The Greatest Showman, with about $95. million, and Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers drama The Post, with about $9.5 million.
Further down the list, Fox Searchlight’s Oscar frontrunner The Shape of Water added 1,001 theaters, for a total of 1,854, and is set to take in about $5.7 million for the weekend, good for the No. 8 spot. Through Sunday, the Guillermo del Toro-directed fantasy romance is on pace for a total of $37.7 million in North America and $13.9 million in foreign markets.
According to ComScore, overall box office is up 2.2 percent year-to-date. Check out the Jan. 26-28 figures below.
1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure — $23.5 million
2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — $16.4 million
3. Hostiles — $10.2 million
4. The Greatest Showman — $9.5 million
5. The Post — $8.9 million
6. 12 Strong — $8.6 million
7. Den of Thieves — $8.4 million
8. The Shape of Water — $5.7 million
9. Paddington 2 — $5.6 million
10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi — $4.2 million