Box Office: ‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’ Skimming $7 Million Opening, Marvel’s ‘Guardians 3’ Staying on Top

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The book club can’t topple comic books at the books office, as Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will easily hold off the opening of “Book Club: The Next Chapter” to retain the top spot on domestic charts.

“The Next Chapter” earned $2.14 million on its opening day, projecting a debut of $7 million from 3,508 locations for the three-day frame. That’s on the lower end of estimates heading into the weekend. While there’s hope that the Focus Features release will be able to earn a boost in ticket sales on the Mother’s Day holiday, the sequel won’t be able to match its predecessor. Released by Paramount in 2018, the first “Book Club” debuted to $13.5 million before legging out to a $68 million gross in North America — a solid result for an older-skewing comedy.

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Numbers across the board are down for “The Next Chapter,” including in its reception. The film earned a 42% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes (down from the first film’s 45%), as well as a lukewarm “B” grade through research firm Cinema Score (down from an “A-“).

Starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen, “Book Club: The Next Chapter” follows four best friends as they trade their immaculately designed kitchens for the streets of Italy, throwing a bachelorette party for Fonda’s character, Vivian. In his review, Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman called it a “cookie-cutter sequel,” but one that’s still “sweetly romantic.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” should have no trouble maintaining its top position after earning $15.7 million on Friday. Last weekend, the Marvel entry fired off with a $118 million opening — both the second-biggest debut of the year and yet an ever-so-slightly underwhelming figure for the superhero sequel.

“Volume 3” looks to benefit from strong word-of-mouth this weekend, with some industry projections pegging the film with an impressive 50% drop for its sophomore outing. That’s a great hold for a summer blockbuster, which usually put up somewhat front-loaded box office performances due to fan anticipation. The film’s total domestic gross should push beyond $200 million on Saturday.

The Ben Affleck supernatural thriller “Hypnotic” is bombing in it debut, fending against April holdovers for a top five spot on domestic charts. With only $940,000 in ticket sales from 2,118 theaters on opening day, the Robert Rodriguez-directed film has little hope of recouping its reported $65 million budget. Released by Ketchup Entertainment and Relativity Media, the production was still seeking a distributor as recently as three months ago.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” looks to take second place, projecting a $13.3 million haul for its sixth weekend of release. That’s down a mere 28% from its previous outing — just another piece of evidence demonstrating the animated adventure’s superlative staying power. With total domestic gross at $536 million and a global total of $1.21 billion, the Universal, Illumination and Nintendo production has now surpassed “Minions” to become the fourth-highest grossing animated film ever.

“Evil Dead Rise” from Warner Bros. is expected to take fourth after earning $1.1 million on Friday, down only 33% from last weekend. After roughly matching the $17 million opening of the franchise’s 2013 reboot, this year’s nutty horror sequel has now out-earned its predecessor, moving beyond a $60 million gross.

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