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Box Office Preview

The YA adaptation about a teenage cancer patient who finds love is off to a sizzling start, while the Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner needs to make up ground. Weekend 2 of 'Maleficent' is a wild card. Deadline's Anita Busch reports.

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Weekend Box Office Preview

Tom Cruise's sci-fi movie 'Edge Of Tomorrow' is the latest summer tentpole to hit theaters, but will Fox's teen love story 'The Fault In Our Stars' steal its opening-weekend thunder?

fault-in-our-stars-posterThis is one of those rare weekends, where two movies are opening and another is likely to play strong in its second frame so which might come out on top is a question mark. First off, Fox 2000′s highly-anticipated film based on the best-selling John Green book The Fault in Our Stars opens tonight at 9 p.m. plus it has a a live event going on tonight. That super fan event called “The Night Before Our Stars,” features a live simulcast with the film’s cast and author Green for a Q&A; that’s $25 bucks a pop in 650 theaters. Gotta give kudos to the marketing and distribution team at 20th Century Fox who have really been smart about handling this film. Social media for the picture has just blown up on it as well between the YA crowd but the buzz even has adults wanting to see the film. Having seen it, I gotta say Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort did a heck of a job, but once again, it’s a movie about cancer and for those of us who have experienced cancer in our families — and that is a wide swath of movie goers — it’s hard to watch. Is Fault In Our Stars this generation’s Love Story? It bows at 3,171 locales this weekend.

RELATED: Cinemark CEO talks Up Live Event For Fault In Our Stars

Edge of Tomorrow Tom CruiseTonight’s late nights combined with the live-event sales could push its gross to a high level going into the weekend. But, at the end of the day, it is a movie about kids dying from cancer … so that YA fever pitch and the live event is expected to front-load the late night grosses of the film. The question is how it will do on Saturday as it it likely to take a larger hit. Tracking on this film has it anywhere between a low-$30M and the high-end of $40M. So this pic could be No. 1 and beat Maleficent in its second weekend and also the Tom Cruise-starring Edge of Tomorrow, which opened overseas first last weekend in anticipation of its stateside bow.

Edge of Tomorrow, by all accounts, is looking right now to come in No. 3 this weekend in the mid- to-high $20Ms. But here’s the thing on this one, the spots for the picture have gotten better which has lifted its tracking numbers for Warner Bros. Gotta remember we have both the NBA finals and the Stanley Cup final going on this weekend which will move the male demo to the small screen.

hr_Maleficent_42The question remains what percentage drop or hold (depending on your perspective) Disney’s Maleficent will have, and I think it will do quite well given that there is nothing to challenge the family audience right now until next weekend when How to Train Your Dragon 2 bows from DreamWorks Animation. The CinemaScore last weekend for the Angelina Jolie-driven fantasy film was an A, a good indication of what word of mouth will be. If the pic falls 50% it will be a direct challenge by The Fault in Our Stars. However, if it has a better hold, and I think it will, it could potentially take the No. 1 spot and Stars will slip underneath it at No. 2.

In other words, it’s a question mark right now. I can’t say otherwise as there are too many variables to consider.

The other noteworthy film this weekend is Chef which Open Road Films is expanding to play in about 1,300 theaters (1,298 at the last count). This pic, written, directed and starring Jon Favreau, has enjoyed positive word-of-mouth going into its fifth week of expansion.