The animated family film took in $2.6 million in previews, compared to $1.95 million for Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Skyscraper’
Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper grossed a modest $1.95 million in Thursday-night previews at the North American box office, losing to Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, which earned $2.6 million.
It remains to be seen whether Skyscraper can pull ahead and beat Dracula and crew for the weekend. Prerelease tracking suggests Johnson’s latest film will earn $33 million-$40 million in its U.S. debut. The action-disaster pic, from Legendary and Universal, reteams Johnson with his Central Intelligence director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, and is the actor’s fourth movie in a little over a year after Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Rampage.
Skyscraper‘s preview performance came in behind Johnson’s action pics Rampage ($2.4 million) and San Andreas ($3.1 million). Rampage, released in April, opened to $35.8 million, while San Andreas impressed with $54.5 million on its first weekend in summer 2015.
Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 is tracking to open to $38 million or more, although the studio is being more conservative in suggesting $35 million.
Both films will have to contend with Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which cleared the $100 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday after earning another $5 million.
Skyscraper, which cost $129 million to produce before marketing, is counting on big returns overseas, where it opens in numerous markets this weekend before unfurling in China on July 20. Rampage earned a mighty $156.4 million in China, almost half of its total foreign haul of $326.1 million. Rampage topped out at $99 million in North America.
Skyscraper stars Johnson as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader now assigned to provide security for a towering skyscraper in China. He must spring into action when his wife (Neve Campbell) and children are trapped inside the world’s tallest building after villains set fire to it. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who made Central Intelligence with Johnson, wrote and directed the pic.
Hotel Transylvania 3 cost a reported $80 million to produce before marketing. Adam Sandler once again voices the role of Dracula, who decides to take a cruise with his pals only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). She also happens to be a relative and loyal ally of Van Helsing, a notorious vampire hunter. The voice cast also includes Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan and Mel Brooks, with Genndy Tartakovsky directing.
Hotel Transylvania 3 has already begun rolling out overseas, where it has grossed $6 million to date. By this weekend, the film will be playing in nearly 50 percent of the international marketplace.