Fox reports that DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3 bowed to an estimated $10.5 million on opening day Friday, claiming first place in the process -- the first animated film to do so since October 1 (Hotel Transylvania 2's last day in that position). Unfortunately, that does fall slightly short of pre-release expectations (and south of Home's $15.7 million opening day last March). However, the long game should benefit the long-awaited second sequel in the franchise as strong word of mouth (89 percent on Flixster) and very positive reviews (79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) are in its favor, in addition to a lack of any real competition until March's Zootopia. For opening weekend, BoxOffice projects a $37 million haul, followed by strong legs thereafter.
Disney's The Finest Hours debuted in second place on Friday with an estimated opening of $3.312 million. That's generally in line with the $3.63 million opening day of the studio's McFarland, USA last February. While in line with pre-release expectations, the big-budget film will certainly need to sprout strong legs in the long run. Early word of mouth appears mixed with a 69 percent Flixster score and 59 percent critics' rating. BoxOffice projects a $10 million opening weekend in fourth place.
The Revenant scooted down to third place on Friday with $3.22 million, off 30 percent from the same day last week. That brings the 12-time Oscar nominee's domestic tally up to an impressive $129 million and counting. This weekend should ring up around $12.1 million for a second place finish.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens took fourth place yesterday as it eased 30 percent from last Friday to $2.459 million. That brings the all-time domestic champ's running total up to $887.1 million now as it chases down its next benchmark of $900 million (which it will reach sometime next week). Look for another strong weekend around $10.4 million in third place.
The Boy filled out the top five yesterday with $2.31 million, down just 39.5 percent from its opening day last week. That's an impressive hold for most movies, especially in the horror genre, indicating healthy word of mouth among the target audience. The film has tallied $15.9 million in eight days of release as it heads toward a strong sophomore frame around $7.8 million.
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades of Black lived down to expectations with a $2.25 million opening day. By comparison, fellow Wayans-led spoof A Haunted House bagged a $6.8 million first day back in January 2013. Word of mouth (40 percent) and reviews (14 percent) are both in the cellar, so theatrical life will be short-lived. Look for an opening weekend around $6.3 million.