Warner Bros.’ supernatural thriller “Doctor Sleep” roused $1.5 million in North America during Thursday night preview showings.
Lionsgate’s “Midway” earned $925,000 at 2,600 locations from Thursday night previews and Universal’s “Last Christmas” made $575,000 at 2,700 sites.
“Doctor Sleep,” starring Ewan McGregor, is expected to dominate moviegoing this weekend at 3,855 theaters amid forecasts between $25 million to $30 million. The openings of romantic comedy “Last Christmas” and World War II drama “Midway” will probably battle Paramount’s second weekend of “Terminator: Dark Fate” for second place in the $12 million to $15 million range.
“Doctor Sleep” is directed by Mike Flanagan (“The Haunting of Hill House”) from his own script, based on Stephen King’s 2013 novel. The story, a sequel to “The Shining,” centers on the character Danny Torrance, who struggles with childhood trauma, alcoholism and his psychic powers. Rebecca Ferguson, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood and Zahn McClarnon also star. The follow-up has evoked mostly positive reviews and holds a 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Last Christmas” teams “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke with “Crazy Rich Asians” leads Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh. Paul Feig directed, and Emma Thompson, who also appears in the film, wrote the screenplay with Bryony Kimmings.
Roland Emmerich’s “Midway” is launching on 3,242 screens. The film recreates the 1942 Battle of Midway, a key early victory for the Allies in World War II.
Overall 2019 North American box office trails last year by 5.6% at $9.39 billion — although the figure has narrowed since mid-July, when the gap was 9.1%, noted Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
“With a mere eight weekends left on the calendar, it looks like the going will get even tougher as the industry struggles to wiggle its way out of a 5% deficit that has dogged the industry for many weeks,” he added. “Though this weekend’s crop will do its best to awaken the multiplex and next week will see some additional horsepower added to the lineup, it will be a challenge to battle against the year-ago strength of what would ultimately become a record year at the box office.”
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