Box office preview: 'Tammy' takes on the Transformers

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Image Credit: Michael Tackett

Melissa McCarthy’s over-the-top comedy Tammy (C+ Cinema Score) bursts into theaters this long Fourth of July weekend to challenge Michael Bay’s over-the-top Transformers: Age of Extinction for the No. 1 spot. Will Americans choose an original comedy or the latest summer blockbuster to escape the heat and barbeques? It could be close.

Also opening wide is the E.T.-like Earth to Echo (A- Cinema Score) and the horror pic Deliver Us From Evil (B- Cinema Score). It’s the rare summer weekend without any sequels or franchises, and it won’t hold a candle to the same weekend last year which saw Despicable Me 2 take in $143 million across the Wednesday to Sunday time frame.

Here’s how things might play out.

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $40 million ($55 million five-day)
After a nearly $100 million opening weekend, the Transformers will likely retain control of the No. 1 spot across the five-day. We can expect a 60+ percent weekend drop-off for the Michael Bay-directed epic.

2. Tammy – $25 million ($45 million five-day)
Box office force Melissa McCarthy stars in this raucous, raunchy comedy which she co-wrote with her husband Ben Falcone (who directs) about a down-on-her-luck woman who embarks on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Warner Bros. debuted the $20 million, R-rated comedy in 3,400 theaters, Wednesday, which has already grossed a solid $6.2 million in one day. Reviews are mixed and the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently a weak 28 percent. EW’s Leah Greenblatt gave it a B, writing: “It’s a broad, helter-skelter farce whose best bits hinge almost entirely on the considerable charms of its star.”

3. Deliver Us From Evil – $16 million ($20 million five-day)
Screen Gems’ and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ Deliver Us From Evil opened in 3,045 locations, Wednesday and tells the story of Eric Bana’s NYPD officer’s investigation into some disturbing and seemingly supernatural crimes. He teams up with a priest (Edgar Ramírez) who helps enlighten him in the ways of exorcisms and they set out to defend the city from whatever evil forces are lurking. Critics have been harsh on the first horror pic of the summer season. It’s currently at a 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and EW’s Kyle Anderson gave it a D+ writing: “Somewhere buried deep beneath the murky photography, lazy mirror gags, sound-based jump scares, and deeply unnecessary cruelty to cats that make up the bulk of the dire Deliver Us From Evil is a not-uninteresting story about an on-the-edge cop hunting down a group of PTSD-suffering former soldiers. Not to say that movie would be any good, but it would certainly be better than this rote exorcism-is-real claptrap.” It brought in $2.85 million from Wednesday showings.

4. Earth to Echo – $14 million ($18 million five-day)
Currently resting at a 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Relativity’s kids-find-a-cute-alien pic Earth to Echo hit 3,229 theaters, Wednesday, where it picked up $2.7 million. There is a lack of new kids fare on the market so it will be interesting to see how this property, boasting no known stars, fares with the stiff, recognizable Transformers competition. EW’s Joe McGovern gave it a C-. He writes: “The mildewed found-footage technique allows some tension to build from off-screen action, but also renders the knockoff John Williams score inexplicable.

5. 22 Jump Street — $8 million ($12-million five day)
Tammy will probably help knock the boys of 22 Jump Street even further down on the rankings. But don’t be too concerned about Channing and Jonah. As of Wednesday, the $50 million Sony pic has already made upwards of $146.97 million and surpassed the total earnings of the first.

Dinesh D’Souza’s America also expands to over 1,000 theaters this weekend. It could be a surprise weekend hit.

Finally, in the specialty box office world, Magnolia Pictures is releasing Steve James’ Roger Ebert doc Life Itself in 24 theaters. Also, Emerging Pictures debuts Bernardo Bertolucci’s Me and You, and Janus Films rolls out a re-release of A Hard Day’s Night in 105 theaters.

Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.

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