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

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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