Kevin James‘ Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and the microbudgeted horror-thriller Unfriended are in a close race at the Friday box office, although Furious 7 continues to dominate overall.
Early estimates show Mall Cop 2 earning $5 million to $6 million for the day from 3,633 locations, putting its three-day debut in the high-teens. And if families turn out in force on Saturday, the Sony comedy could cross $20 million. Either way, it won’t match the debut of Paul Blart: Mall Cop over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in 2009. That film, a surprise hit, earned a stellar $31.8 million for the three days and $39.2 million for the four days.
Unfriended, playing in 2,739 theaters, is tipped to gross in the $6 million range on Friday as well, putting its debut in the mid- to high-teens. The movie, fueled by younger moviegoers and costing $1 million to produce, is the latest collaboration between the studio and Jason Blum‘sBlumhouse following The Purge franchise, Ouija and The Boy Next Door. Unfriended unfolds completely over a teenager’s computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure seeking vengeance for a shaming video that led to another girl killing herself.
Furious 7 remains an all audience Goliath and is tipped to win its third consecutive weekend with $25 million to $26 million, if not more. Worldwide, Furious 7 raced past the $1 billion mark on Friday, becoming the first title in Universal’s history to reach that milestone in its original run.
James was keen on making Mall Cop 2, which cost a relatively modest $30 million to make. As of early Friday afternoon, the movie sports a zero percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the first film wasn’t a favorite of critics either but did manage a 33 percent fresh rating. This time out, James’ character takes his family on vacation to Las Vegas, but duty quickly calls. Directed byAndy Fickman and co-produced by Adam Sandler‘s Happy Madison, Mall Cop 2 co-stars RainiRodriguez, Neal McDonough and Shirley Knight. It goes out in 3,629 theaters.
Timur Bekmambetov produced Unfriended alongside writer Nelson Greaves. Levan Gabriadzedirected the R-rated movie, which is tracking best among moviegoers between the ages of 17 and 24.
Also opening this weekend nationwide is Disney’s nature documentary Monkey Kingdom, which is expected to gross between $5 million and $6 million from 2,012 locations.