Harrison Ford’s “The Call of the Wild” opened with $1 million in Thursday night previews.
STX’s supernatural horror sequel “Brahms: The Boy II,” meanwhile, earned $375,000 at 1,800 screens from Thursday previews.
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The earnings for Disney-20th Century’s “The Call of the Wild” is in the same vicinity as “The Upside,” which took in $1.1 million from previews and wound up with a $20 million opening weekend last year. “The Call of the Wild” is expected to finish the fame with $10 million to $18 million at 3,752 venues in North America, leaving the canine adventure film far behind “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which has grossed $77 million domestically in its first six days.
Ford stars in the PG-rated adventure about a dog named Buck — a CGI-created Saint Bernard-Scotch Collie mix — in an adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel. Set during Alaska’s Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s, the film follows Buck, who’s stolen from his home in California and sent to Canada to haul freight, befriending Ford’s John Thornton, who’s hunting for gold, along the way.
Reviews for “The Call of the Wild” have generated a 65% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film, written by Michael Green (“Logan,” “Blade Runner 2049”) and directed by Chris Sanders, carries a $125 million price tag. Disney inherited the movie as part of its purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets last year.
“The Call of the Wild” is launching alongside “Brahms: The Boy II,” a PG-13 thriller based on the character from 2016’s “The Boy.” It should collect $6 million to $8 million from 2,100 venues in its inaugural outing. Katie Holmes stars in the sequel, which follows a young family that moves into the guest house of a terrifying mansion. It cost $10 million to make.
Year-to-date North American box office has totaled $1.34 billion through Feb. 19, a gain of 6.1% over 2019, according to Comscore. “Bad Boys for Life,” “1917” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” have been the top performers of 2020.
Two moderately priced movies about dogs turned in respectable performances last year — Universal’s “A Dog’s Journey” with $76 million worldwide on a $16 million budget and Sony’s “A Dog’s Way Home” with $80 million worldwide on an $18 million budget.
“In the past, it’s generally been ‘ruff’ going for canine-based films at the box office, and despite how much we all love and adore our beloved dogs, it’s been tough for such films to fetch big dollars for their owners,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Hopefully ‘The Call of the Wild’ can buck the trend with major star power, a family-friendly PG-rating and, of course, a title with built-in brand recognition.”
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