A pair of smaller films — the intense US-Mexico border drama Sicario: Day of the Soldado and basketball comedy Uncle Drew — are scoring more points than expected at the North American box office, even though they don't stand a chance of stealing the crown from holdovers Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2, according to Friday returns.
Sicario 2, from Sony and Black Label Media, earned an estimated $7.5 million on Friday from 3,055 theatres for a debut of $19 million or more (Sony is being more cautious in projecting $18 million). Friday's gross included $2 million in Thursday previews.
Lionsgate and Summit's Uncle Drew grossed $6.1 million on Friday from 2,742 locations for a projected $16 million-$17 million opening, including $1.1 million in previews.
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested the two films would open in the $10 million-$13 million range.
Universal's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will easily stay atop the box-office chart in its sophomore outing with nearly $59 million, putting the film's domestic total at $263 million through Sunday.
Now in its third weekend, Incredibles 2 could earn anywhere $44 million-$45 million for a domestic cume of $430 million-plus. Sometime over the weekend, the Disney and Pixar film will pass up Toy Story 3 ($415 million) to rank as the No. 2 Pixar title of all time domestically behind Finding Dory ($486.3 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Neither Sicario 2 nor Uncle Drew have aspirations to be all-audience summer blockbusters. Rather, they hope to serve as counterprogramming to the glut of broad-appeal fare in summer multiplexes, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a follow-up to the critically acclaimed US-Mexico border drama Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve and released by Lionsgate in the fall of 2015. This time out, Stefano Sollima sat in the director's chair. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin once again star, sans Emily Blunt.
The timely storyline follows a federal border agent (Brolin) who enlists Del Toro's character in a battle to stop the Mexican drug cartels from trafficking terrorists across the border into the US.
Critics and audiences like the sequel far less than the first film. Sicario 2, earning a B CinemaScore, currently has a 64 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 93 per cent for Sicario.
Uncle Drew, from Lionsgate/Summit, stars Lil Rel Howery as a thirty something man who, with the help of the titular character (Kyrie Irving), assembles a team of older basketball players in hopes of winning a street ball tournament in Brooklyn. The movie boasts an impressive roster of real-life basketball greats, including Irving, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Lisa Leslie and Reggie Miller. Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll also star.
Comedies are under siege at the box office, and it remains to be seen whether Uncle Drew can score a win over the course of time. Directed by Charles Stone III, the pic was adapted from a digital series created by Pepsi. Uncle Drew should benefit from an A CinemaScore.
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