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Box office preview: It's Liam Neeson vs. Jesus as 'Non-Stop' debuts against 'Son of God'

This weekend is a box office wild card.

Liam Neeson is an earnings force unto himself, and his latest turn as an air marshal on a hijacked transatlantic flight in Non-Stop should evict The Lego Movie from its three-weekend stronghold on the No. 1 spot. But the big, looming unknown is Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s Son of God. Its weekend prospects have analysts stumped, with estimates ranging anywhere from $12 million to $30 million. And even the high end of that could be wildly off.

With that said, here’s how things might play out. And, to change things up a bit, if you’re so inclined, sound off in the comments with your own top five and estimates for each. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Lego' three-peats at No. 1 with $31.5 million, '3 Days to Kill' takes second, 'Pompeii' fizzles

Ancient volcanoes and box-office vets proved no match for The Lego Movie, even after three weekends in theaters. Warner Bros.’ 3-D extravaganza earned an estimated $31.45 million and beat its new competition by more than double. Lego’s domestic total is now $183.2 million — surpassing The Lorax’s 17-day total by about $25 million. Despite adding 115 screens, Lego dropped about 37% from last weekend.

The Kevin Costner-led action pic 3 Days to Kill  came in a distant second with an estimated $12.3 million from 2,872 theaters. That gives the PG-13, McG-directed Relativity thriller a respectable $4,238 per screen average. Exit polls show an eerily perfect audience gender division (50/50), but as far as age goes, 80% were over the age of 25, which suggests that Costner was the main draw for theater-goers. The $28 million film, which also stars Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, and Connie Nielsen, follows an international spy trying to complete one last, dangerous mission while also caring for his teenage daughter (Steinfeld). Relativity says: “We are pleased with 3 Days to Kill’s solid opening, which was right in line with our expectations for this lower budget action-thriller.”

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Box office update: 'Lego' stacks up $7.34 million Friday; 'Pompeii' falls with $3.4 million debut

While The Lego Movie continues to play in the No. 1 spot — and sets a release date for its sequel (May 26, 2017, for the long-range planners among us) — the weekend’s new releases eked out expectedly mild Friday debuts.

The tiny building blocks enjoyed a $7.3 million Friday, bringing their domestic total to $159 million and worldwide earnings to $215 million. This weekend should net out in the mid-$30 million range.

Kevin Costner’s 3 Days to Kill — the McG-directed spy thriller about a CIA agent one job away from retirement — snagged the second-place spot, opening to an estimated $4.01 million. Relativity’s modestly budgeted action pic (in the $28 million range) opened in 2,872 theaters and will likely bring in around $12 million when the weekend closes. Reviews haven’t been great, but perhaps audiences are interested in seeing a Costner comeback. Even though EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave the film a C-, he writes: “Costner, grizzled and downbeat, escapes with his gruff charisma intact.”

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Box office preview: Jon Snow and Kevin Costner step up to battle, but 'Lego' will triumph again

Two very different action pics blast into theaters this weekend: the period epic Pompeii and the tick-tock spy thriller 3 Days to Kill. Despite boasting directors who have proven themselves somewhat reliable box office quantities — Resident Evil‘s Paul W.S. Anderson and Charlie’s Angels‘ McG — neither will hold a candle to The Lego Movie, which will enjoy a third weekend at the top of the charts.

Tiny animated toys aren’t the only obstacle for the action pics. The new contenders also have to compete with the still-formidable competition of About Last Night and Monuments Men. This weekend’s wild card is RoboCop. After a modest domestic debut, and a generally positive audience response (B+ CinemaScore), it now has to face two brand-new movies vying for the same action-hungry audience.

Here’s how things might play out. READ FULL STORY

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