Box office preview: The teens take on Tom Cruise

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Image Credit: James Bridges

This weekend, a powerful genre battles a powerful movie star as the YA sensation The Fault in Our Stars opens against Tom Cruise’s sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow. But who will prevail — especially when Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent is still lurking in the background?

Here’s how things might play out.

1. The Fault in Our Stars — $40 million
Sorry, Tom, but initial tracking suggests that the army of John Green fans (and some probably wondering what all the hype is about) will bump Fox’s $12 million pic to the No. 1 spot. Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars is an unconventionally unsentimental tale of teens with cancer and their burgeoning romance. It opens in 3,171 locations and analysts are guessing it could debut anywhere from $25 to $45 million. There will also be some Thursday night showings, including the 650 locations participating in the “Night Before Our Stars” event, featuring a simulcast Q&A with Woodley, Elgort, Nat Wolff, author John Green, director Josh Boone and producer Wyck Godfrey. As of Tuesday, it had already broken the record as the biggest pre-selling love story of all time on Fandango (previously The Vow, which opened at $41 million), with the caveat that it doesn’t include “genre” romances like Twilight. Also, reviews are strong. The adaptation has a solid 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a B, writing that today’s teens, “can sniff out condescension from a thousand yards. That’s why they’re lucky to have an actress as effortlessly charismatic and natural as 22-year-old Woodley (The Descendants, Divergent) as their stand-in.”

2. Maleficent — $35 million
After its stunning debut, Disney’s Maleficent will likely fall around 47 to 50 percent in week two, based on how Alice in Wonderland and Oz: The Great and Powerful performed at the same point in the cycle.

3. Edge of Tomorrow — $27 million
Warner Bros.’ Edge of Tomorrow, from Bourne Identity director Doug Liman, stars Tom Cruise as a warrior-in-training (by Emily Blunt) who is forced to live the same battle over and over again till he can find a way to defeat the aliens who have invaded Earth. It’s getting a fantastic response from critics and is currently boasting a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Chris Nashawaty gave it a B+, and wrote: “Despite its terribly unimaginative title, Edge of Tomorrow is a surprisingly imaginative summer action movie.” But, in spite of the critical goodwill, the $178 million pic is eyeing a debut in the mid- to high $20 millions from 3,490 locations. Internationally, Edge of Tomorrow has made about $33 million. It opened in 28 territories last weekend and will expand to 36 more this weekend.

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past — $15 million
The mutants are on the steady decline as they enter their third weekend in theaters. The $200 million Fox pic will probably pull in around $15 million this weekend.

5. A Million Ways to Die in the West — $8 million
Seth MacFarlane’s sophomore effort was left in the dust on opening weekend, and its B Cinema Score could mean that word-of-mouth won’t even be that strong for the R-rated Western comedy, which has a shot at making up its production budget in the home video market.

Limited-release openings include A24’s Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate as a twentysomething New Yorker who has had a bad streak of luck, Mike Myers’ documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, and the Taissa Farmiga-led thriller Anna, which has also been available on VOD.  Clark Gregg’s Trust Me and Ti West’s thriller The Sacrament also open.

Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.

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