Box office preview: 'Lucy' aims to dominate 'Hercules'

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Image Credit: Jessica Forde

Hercules might be a legendary warrior, but Lucy‘s brain capacity will likely prove too formidable a foe for the Greek demigod at the box office. The Scarlett Johansson-led action film looks poised to ravage Dwayne Johnson’s sword-and-sandals epic as both debut on 3,000+ screens this weekend.

Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes, starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas also opens in 1,800 theaters, which could possibly break the top five with $8 million, closing out a quiet and struggling July at the box office before Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy arrives next weekend.

Here’s how things might play out.

1. Lucy$35 million
Director Luc Besson’s original thriller follows a woman working as a drug mule for the mob who gets transformed by one of the drugs she’s transporting, turning her into a superhuman. That proves quite helpful for her in seeking revenge against her captors. Universal is distributing the R-rated pic, which cost a reported $40 million to produce and is tracking at $30+ million. Some analysts are even predicting that it has a chance to top $40 million. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, the 89-minute thriller is getting decent reviews, too. It’s currently at a 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is expected to also do quite well internationally.

2. Hercules$22 million
Paramount and MGM’s Hercules, adapted from the Radical Comics take on the Greek hero finds him pitted against a tyrannical warlord. Starring Dwayne Johnson and his muscles, the adventure flick cost a reported $100 million to produce and is expected to bring in a paltry $20 million or so on opening weekend. Critics are mixed on this one, too: Its Rotten Tomatoes score is hovering around 69 percent. Hercules also opens in 19 markets internationally where it should make the bulk of its earnings. Whether or not this story needed to be told is another question. Audiences already had one Hercules adaptation in 2014The Legend of Hercules opened to a dismal $8.9 million in early January.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes$17 million
Dawn had a luxurious two weeks at No. 1, but as the Matt Reeves-directed pic enters weekend three, we can expect a steep drop-off before Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters. Dawn has already made more than $148.5 million domestically, bringing its worldwide total to $257.1 million. It is outpacing the earnings of the first, but it’s also worth noting that this latest outing cost nearly $80 million more to produce.

4. Planes: Fire & Rescue$11 million
Disney’s family feature will probably drop in the high 30 percent range in weekend twoon par with the first. Animated films generally have a better hold from weekend to weekend, and there also aren’t really any other offerings for families looking to escape to movie theaters.

5. The Purge: Anarchy$8 million
The Purge fell a steep (but horror-movie normal) 75.6 percent in weekend two and a similar fall can be expected for this one, which opened even lower than the first. Still, the microbudget offering has already more than tripled its $9 million production budget.

In limited release, Open Road Films debuts its concert pic The Fluffy Movie in 432 theaters, Magnolia is releasing the Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey dramedy Happy Christmas, Sony Classics opens Woody Allen’s Emma Stone and Colin Firth romance Magic in the Moonlight in 17 locations, and Roadside Attractions rolls out the John le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, in 350 theaters.

Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.

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