Hollywood Movies

Frozen Empire Opening to Tepid $41M-Plus at Box Office

March 23, 20243 Mins Read

Sony’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire will have no trouble winning a relatively quiet weekend at the box office but opinion is divided as to whether it can reach $42 million to $44 million in its domestic opening.

Sony remains bullish that it will indeed hit that mark after earning $16 million on Friday, including $4.7 million in Thursday previews. Rival studios, however, show Frozen Empire coming in at around $41 million, behind the $44 million launch of the pandemic-challenged Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 2021. Nearly 40 percent of Friday’s gross came from premium-format screens, including select Imax locations. (Dune: Part Two still has a large Imax footprint.)

The newest Ghostbusters entry is challenged by middling reviews and a B+ CinemaScore from audiences, compared to an A- for Afterlife. Another challenge is bad weather along the east coast.

Frozen Empire is a direct sequel to Afterlife, which succeeded in restoring the luster to the classic franchise created by the late Ivan Reitman. His son, Jason Reitman, directed Afterlife, but this time turned over helming duties to series co-scribe Gil Kenan.

The movie features returning castmembers Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Celeste O’Connor and Logan Kim, alongside Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and William Atherton, who starred in the original 1980s films. Series newcomers include Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt.

Written by Kenan and Reitman, the story follows the Spengler family as they return to the New York City firehouse to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who have developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an army of ghosts that casts a death chill upon the city, demon fighters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.

The weekend’s other new nationwide opener is Neon’s specialty horror pic Immaculate, starring Sydney Sweeney, who is fresh off her hit rom-com Anyone But You.

Immaculate, fueled by younger women, is on course to place No. 4 with an estimated $5 million, in line with expectations for the indie film. The pic earned a C CinemaScore, which isn’t unusual for a horror film.

In Immaculate, Sweeney plays a devout nun traveling to a remote convent in the picturesque Italian countryside, but her journey soon devolves into a nightmare as it becomes clear her new home harbors a sinister secret and unspeakable horror. It is tracking to open in the low single digits.

Legendary and Warner Bros.’ Dune sequel is holding at No. 2 with an estimated weekend haul of $16 million in its fourth outing. The movie will finish Sunday with a sensational domestic cume of $230 million, or thereabouts.

Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 4 is also holding in nicely as more and more kids are sprung from school for spring break. The movie, now in its third outing, looks to earn an estimated $14.5 million for a domestic tally of $131 million through Sunday.

Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate’s Arthur the King, starring Mark Wahlberg. The movie, about the inspirational bond formed between a dog and a group of professional adventurers, is pacing to earn $4.5 million in its second outing for a subdued domestic total of $14.3 million.

Numbers will be updated Sunday.

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