Box office preview: 'Maze Runner' teens prepare to battle Liam Neeson
Dylan O’Brien and his fellow gladers face off against Liam Neeson at the box office this weekend as The Maze Runner opens alongside A Walk Among the Tombstones. But, it looks like the teens will triumph in the end.
The star-packed This is Where I Leave you also opens in about 2,868 locations this weekend, as well as a number of smaller releases, including the Kevin Smith horror pic Tusk, the Dan Stevens-led thriller The Guest, the fact-based Tracks, and Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi pic The Zero Theorem. And if you’re a die hard Dan Stevens or Adam Driver fan, both have two movies debuting.
Here’s how things might play out.
1. The Maze Runner — $40 million
Fox’s adaptation of the first book in James Dashner’s popular YA trilogy opens in 3,500 theaters this weekend, starting with late Thursday night showings. Starring Teen Wolf‘s Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the story follows a group of teens who’ve been mysteriously placed in a large glade surrounded by the sky-high walls of a maze that’s always changing. Things start to take a turn for the worse when O’Brien’s character, Thomas, shows up and disrupts the social order. Fox has been pushing the thriller and action aspects of the adaptation, which is more Lord of the Flies than Twilight. With a reported $34 million price tag to produce, the Dashner Army (the author’s loyal social media followers) could help this film open strong. Tracking is putting the PG-13 pic in the $30 million range, but fan fervor could push it up to $40 million. The pricier Divergent, which had more engagement on social media, opened to $54 million in March. Still, September is a largely untested time for a big YA property. The Maze Runner has already opened in five markets overseas and made over $8.3 million.
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones — $17 million
Liam Neeson stars in this mystery novel adaptation about a former NYPD detective and recovering alcoholic who’s hired by a drug kingpin to find out who’s behind a recent slew of kidnappings. Scott Frank wrote and directed the R-rated pic for Cross Creek Pictures. Universal is opening the pic, which has a 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, in 2,713 North American locations and should open in the mid-to-high teens, as is common for a lot of adult-targeted dramas at this time of year.
3. This is Where I Leave You — $14 million
Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver lead an all-star cast in Warner Bros.’ This is Where I Leave You. Shawn Levy directed the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s novel, which is garnering some mixed responses from critics (41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). In his C review, EW’s Chris Nashawaty asks: “Why cast such talented, interesting, and edgy performers if you’re only going to ask them play it safe?” With a roughly $20 million price tag, the movie should open in the mid-teens and will likely have legs for at least a few weeks thanks to the appealing cast.
4. No Good Deed — $13 million
After exceeding expectations with a $24.3 million debut, No Good Deed, which only cost $13 million to produce, is poised for a drop off in the 50 percent range.
5. Dolphin Tale 2 — $10 million
Family fare doesn’t generally suffer the steep falls that most other films do, and, since there’s no new family pic on the market, Dolphin Tale 2 could still bring in around $10 million.
Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.