Weekend Box Office: “Now You See Me” scores, “After Earth” struggles

A big Thursday night and strong Friday have pushed “Now You See Me,” the all-star (albeit, not big box office stars) magicians rob banks and rich people thriller into a $24 million or so weekend, not bad for a movie that earned middling reviews and seemed to have “$upper teens” written all over it. Call that one a win for Summit.

Columbia’s gamble on Will Smith: The Next Generation isn’t bombing. But after hopes/predictions for a $40 million weekend, terrible reviews and weak fan interest have lowered expectations considerably. A weak Thursday night and decent/not huge Friday make this a $25 million dollar opener, according to Deadline.com.

Those two films could be neck and neck — for second place. “Fast & Furious 6” is still drawing them in, But the fall off from last weekend’s $97 million is pretty steep — maybe $35-38 million, a 60% plunge. “Now You See Me” was $250,000 ahead at last check.

“Hangover Part III” didn’t open huge and won’t lose that much audience.

“Epic”, being a kids’ film, being in 3D and being on nearly 4000 screens (the most of any film now in theaters) will be judged on Saturday’s performance. A big fall-off and Blue Sky/Fox is looking at a flop. Considering “The Croods” is still in the top ten and will have earned over $182 million by midnight Sunday, “Epic” needs a $20-25 million weekend to have any prayer of making its bones before “Monsters University” opens next month.

“Star Trek” did better business during the adult-oriented weekday bookings than “Epic.” It should clear the $175 million mark by Monday.

“Gatsby” should be near the $130 million benchmark in US box office by Sunday night.

Look for $42″ to finally drop out of the top ten and run out of gas — $5-7 million shy of $100 million. “Mud” may still cling to the top ten.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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