It takes a special kind of sequel to be able to withstand a nine-year gap between releases, and unfortunately for Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, Sin City: A Dame to Kill for doesn’t appear to be up to the task. Instead, the YA adaptation If I Stay looks poised to take first place this weekend.
Here’s how things might play out.
1. If I Stay — $20 million
Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Mia, a 17-year-old cellist who is coma-bound after a car crash that kills her family, in this emotional adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 bestseller. MGM and New-Line co-financed the $11 million project, which Warner Bros. is releasing in 2,902 locations Friday. A built-in fan base and the hope that The Fault in Our Stars’ early summer success presumably made this sort of tear-jerker more appealing to mainstream audiences could help the PG-13 rated film score a $20+ million opening. According to Fandango, the drama has been their top-seller since Monday and is outpacing The Lucky One at the same point in that film’s cycle (which opened to $22.5 million in April of 2012).
2. Guardians of the Galaxy — $16.2 million
If Guardians continues to follow the trajectory of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it should drop off in the mid-30-percent range in weekend four, which would bring the Marvel space opera to a $250 million domestic total by Sunday.
3. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — $15 million
Sin City opened to $29.1 million in April of 2005 and went on to gross $74 million domestically. The aesthetically bold adaptation of Frank Miller’s comics does have its ardent fans, but the nine-year gap between films is not going to do A Dame to Kill For any favors when it opens in Friday in 2,750 locations. This iteration promises two brand-new story lines and some fresh faces including Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Josh Brolin and got some added buzz with a risqué poster. But Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, who co-directed the film, haven’t really been connecting with massive audiences lately. There was a seven-year gap between Miller’s 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire, which went on to make $106.5 million domestically while the first made $210.6 million. Weinstein and Dimension are distributing the second Sin City, which they predict will open in the mid-teens.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — $14.3 million
A 50-percent week-three dropoff would put Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at around $14 million dollars for the weekend, bringing its domestic total to around $143 million by Sunday.
5. When the Game Stands Tall — $8 million
TriStar’s football drama based on De La Salle High School’s 151-game winning streak starring Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, and Michael Chiklis opens in 2,600 locations Friday and could bring in anywhere from $8 to $10 million. The hope is that the inspirational message will attract families and faith-based audiences, who have been targeted in the marketing campaign through screenings for pastors, church-group leaders, and Christian radio partners. The movie cost about $15 million to produce.
Limited release openings include Matthew Weiner’s comedy Are You Here (starring Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis), the Alfred Molina and John Lithgow relationship drama Love is Strange, The One I Love (starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass), and the documentary To Be Takei.
Check back in this weekend for estimates and analysis.