Box Office: Sci-fi 'Chappie' looks to top a slow weekend

"Chappie" tops the Friday box office with estimated $4.5 million

Though it was never in line to be a big weekend at the box office, things may turn out to be even slower than expected.

Neil Blomkamp’s “Chappie” made an estimated $4.5 million on Friday in some 3,200 theaters. That could put it on track to make a little more than $13 million for the weekend, just less than even the low end of pre-release expectations from Sony Pictures.

The latest ambitious sci-fi film from writer-director Blomkamp, who saw his “Elysium” open to $30.5 million in summer of 2013, “Chappie” has received less than stellar reviews. The Times’ Kenneth Turan called it “a movie about the evolution of artificial intelligence that’s as dumb as a post.”

“Unfinished Business,” starring Vince Vaughn as a desperate American businessman in Europe, finds the once-reliable star continuing to flounder at the box office. The 20th Century Fox release brought in an estimated $1.8 million on Friday and looks to make less than $5 million for the weekend. That puts it even below Fox holdover title “The Kingsman,” which looks to make just over $8 million.

There was much talk coming off last week as to what the $18.7 million opening for “Focus” would mean to the career of star Will Smith. This weekend the film looks to come in second, pulling in an estimated $2.9 million on Friday, for a weekend total around $9.5 million.

One relative bright spot for the weekend was the estimated $2.7 million on Friday for the opening of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” the follow-up to the surprise 2012 hit “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The “Second” film, which brings back stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy while adding Richard Gere to the mix, is the first sequel from distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures and is on track for a third-place weekend total of some $9 million.

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