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Friday Box Office: Sandler’s ‘Pixels’ Gets Mixed Response, ‘Paper Towns,’ ‘Southpaw’ Not Far Behind

Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind

Despite near universal scorn from the critics, Adam Sandler’s latest comedy Pixels” (Sony), his first release since announcing a four-film production and playoff deal with Netflix, topped Friday’s grosses with a $9.2 million take. Overall, the Top Ten totaled around $46 million, on par with the same weekend last year.

It’s a glass half-full/half-empty win for “Pixels.” On the plus side, apart from its one-day victory, Sony is reporting about $22 million yesterday in 56 foreign markets (about 40% of the world), with huge numbers in Latin America and mainly equal with “Ant-Man” openings in Europe. The number domestically is also in the same $9 million range as his “Jack and Jill” and “Just Go With It” among his other lead roles in the last five years, double last year’s “Blended” and the earlier “That’s My Boy,” lagging behind only “Grown Ups 2” ($16.3 million) since 2010.

Less encouraging for Sony is that it looks like a single day triumph, with a likely drop to second (or worst case scenario third) for the full weekend. And its budget of $90 million is tops for a Sandler film, meaning it could struggle to show much of a profit ultimately, needing continued foreign strength to do the job.

Two more modestly budgets openers didn’t lag that far behind “Pixels.” Paper Towns” (20th Century Fox), another young adult romantic drama from novelist John Green (whose “Fault in Our Stars” became a sleeper hit last summer) grossed just over $6.3 million for the day (and looking better with its $12 million production cost). It placed fourth for yesterday. Southpaw” (Weinstein) with Jake Gyllenhaal getting most of the positive reaction was just behind at $6.2 million (it had a $30 million cost). With its greater adult appeal, expect “Southpaw” to top “Paper Towns” for the three days.

“Ant-Man” (Buena Vista) is likely to take top spot for the weekend, although it could be close. The most recent Marvel entry took in $7.2 million yesterday for second place, down more than two-thirds from last Friday, though it should rebound in some matinees for a smaller overall second weekend fall (and a $100 million-plus 10-day take). Minions” (Universal) with $6.7 million took third and will pass $250 million today.

Trainwreck” (Universal) with $5.3 million placed sixth, though it could rise for the full weekend (the Top Ten reordering could be particularly significant when all numbers are in). Though strong particularly in comparison to its cost, at this point the Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer comedy doesn’t seem to be holding quite as well as other recent romantic comedies aimed at women.

Filling out the remaining spots, “Inside Out” (Buena Vista) is in seventh with $2.2 million and “Jurassic World” (Universal) eighth with $2 million. “Mr. Holmes” (Roadside Attractions) enters the Top Ten (contrary to initial estimates, it fell short last weekend) with $780,000 in 686 theaters for the ninth spot. “Magic Mike XXL” (Warner Brothers) rounds out the list with $675,000.

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