LOS ANGELES - A traditionally slow weekend after Labor Day could put “Guardians of the Galaxy” at No. 1 at the box office for the third weekend in a row.
Disney’s Marvel Studios film sci-fi film could add up to $10 million to its domestic gross of roughly $283 million, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The expected weekend bump puts the film on track to become the first movie to reach $300 million in the U.S. and Canada this year.
The unconventional comic book movie stars Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel and Zoe Saldana (and Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon). It set August box-office records and ended up as the summer’s highest-grossing film.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” also released in August, may shred to second. The remake is projected to add $8 million to its domestic gross of roughly $167 million.
Teen tear-jerker “If I Stay,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, could add $5 million to its domestic gross of roughly $33 million.
Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan action film “The November Man” and micro-budget thriller “As Above So Below” will vie for fourth place. In their second weekends, both films are expected to gross less than $5 million.
Freestyle Releasing’s “The Identical,” the only newcomer this weekend, is likely to gross up to $5 million.
The independent studio behind “God’s Not Dead” is again aiming to attract Christian audiences. The film, which stars Blake Rayne, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Seth Green, follows identical twin brothers (both played by Rayne) who are separated at birth during the Great Depression.
On Thursday, the film had notched a weak 4 percent on the fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, like other religious films released this past year, it could see success with its niche audience.
“God’s Not Dead,” which opened March 31, grossed roughly $60.7 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film follows a Christian college student (Shane Harper) who finds his faith challenged by a philosophy professor who believes that God doesn’t exist.
Similarly, “Son of God,” adapted for the big screen by husband-and-wife producing team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, grossed roughly $59.7 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film, which opened Feb. 28, is a retelling of the life of Jesus using footage from the 10-hour History Channel miniseries “The Bible.”
Darren Aronfsky’s “Noah,” released March 28, sailed at the box office as well, grossing roughly $101 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Also this weekend, “Forrest Gump” is being re-released exclusively on Imax screens for one week to coincide with the film’s 20th anniversary.
The Robert Zemeckis-directed film, originally released July 6, 1994, stars Tom Hanks as dimwitted but lovable everyman Forrest Gump, who lives through many significant events in U.S. history from the 1950s through the 1980s.
The film took home six Academy Awards and grossed more than $675 million at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing film ever at the time.
On Wednesday, Hanks tweeted: “GUMP opens in IMAX Friday. Forrest would wonder who Mr. IMAX is and how he makes movies so big.”