Disney's new computer-animated picture "Zootopia" is set to rule the weekend with a powerful $60 million or more in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys.
Opening Friday, "Zootopia" takes place in a human-less society of talking animals and follows the adventures of a rabbit cop and a con-man fox, two natural enemies who team up. If the film does as well as box-office trackers predict, it will be a strong opening for the buddy action-comedy from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
The Burbank studio's animation unit's last offering, "Big Hero 6," opened to $56 million in November 2014 and ended up with $222 million in ticket sales from North America.
A strong projected debut for the well-reviewed "Zootopia" is certain to unseat 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool," which has taken in a stunning $285 million in the U.S. and Canada and will probably cross the $300-million mark this week. The $58-million movie is currently the third-highest-grossing R-rated film ever, behind "American Sniper" and "The Passion of the Christ."
Focus Features is releasing the adult-skewing action thriller "London Has Fallen," the sequel to the 2013 Morgan Freeman-Gerard Butler movie "Olympus Has Fallen" about an attack on the White House. This time, Butler's special agent Mike Banning has to prevent the assassination of world leaders in Britain.
The original did solid business (about $99 million in the U.S. and Canada), and the studio is hoping to benefit from the international potential of the follow-up. Analysts project the movie will open with $20 million to $25 million in the U.S. and Canada, which is slightly less than the debut of the prior picture.
"Olympus" was released by the distributor FilmDistrict, which shut down in 2013 and was absorbed into Focus Features, the specialty unit of Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures. "London Has Fallen" was produced by Avi Lerner's Millenium Films.
Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures will unleash the Tina Fey comedy-drama "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," which is about an American journalist who looks for more fulfilling assignments in the war zones of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and gets more than she bargained for. It's expected to gross about $10 million to $12 million through Sunday.
The film is a change of pace for Fey, who's also a producer on the film. The "30 Rock" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" creator's previous film roles include last year's comedy "Sisters" with Amy Poehler, and the 2010 romantic comedy "Date Night."