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Weekend Box Office: 'The Happytime Murders' Earns $950K in Previews; 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Soars in China

Weekend Box Office: 'The Happytime Murders' Earns $950K in Previews; 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Soars in China

7:52 AM PDT 8/24/2018 by Pamela McClintock

Elsewhere, 'A.X.L.' is bombing in another blow for Global Road, while 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' soars in its China debut.

Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians is doing crazy great business in its second weekend.

According to early returns, the rom-com could earn $21 million-$23 million in its sophomore outing â€" a decline of less than 20 percent. From Warner Bros., the film is groundbreaking for featuring an all-Westernized Asian cast.

Crazy Rich Asians is easily slaying STXfilms' new R-rated comedy, The Happytime Murders, which looks to open to a muted $11 million-$13 million. That would mark Melissa McCarthy's worst start for a film in which she has top billin g.

Happytime Murders's Friday gross will include $950,000 in Thursday previews. The film, directed by Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, follows a private puppet detective (Bill Barretta) who reteams with his former human partner (McCarthy) to solve the murder of his brother by a serial killer who is now targeting the castmembers of a former TV show.

Most reviewers haven't warmed to Happytime Murders, which currently shows a 25 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film's budget was $40 million.

As summer 2018 winds down, the major Hollywood studios are sitting out the weekend in terms of new U.S. releases.

The only other new nationwide offering is Global Road's A.X.L. The family adventure is tracking to open to a lowly $3 million to $5 million in another box-office blow for Global Road, where lenders took control of the financially strapped film studio earlier this week.

A.X.L. tells the story of a military robotic dog who, after an experiment gone wrong, is found hiding in the desert by a civilian (Alex Neustaedter), who activates its owner-pairing technology and must protect the robot from the scientists who created him.

Becky G., Alex MacNicoll, Dominc Rains and Thomas Jane also star in A.X.L., which was directed by Oliver Daly. The film wasn't screened in advance for reviewers.

Overseas, Disney and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp is making headlines in China, where it posted a stellar opening-day gross of $23 million-$24 million on Friday. That's the fourth-best showing of any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War.

China and Japan (Aug. 31) are Ant-Man's final foreign markets. The sequel's global tally is presently $471.5 million, excluding Friday's estimated take in Chi na.

Aug. 24, 9:45 a.m. Updated with Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Aug. 25, 12:45 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.

Source: Google News Hollywood

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