Afghanistan war film ’12 Strong’ to battle ‘Jumanji’ reboot for top box-office spot

Chris Hemsworth stars in the trailer for “12 Strong.”


In the new Chris Hemsworth Afghanistan war drama “12 Strong,” special forces soldiers risk their lives to take down the Taliban. But as the Warner Bros.-released movie hits theaters this weekend, its most formidable foe at the box office is Sony Pictures’ “Jumanji” reboot.

“12 Strong,” produced by Alcon Entertainment and Jerry Bruckheimer, is expected to gross $15 million or more in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada this weekend, according to people who have read pre-release audience surveys. That could be enough for the film to hit No. 1 this weekend, ending a two-week reign for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

The well-liked “Jumanji,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has cruised to $291 million in domestic receipts so far, along with $385 million overseas for a global total of $676 million. The film, which cost about $90 million to produce, is expected to gross roughly $15 million Friday through Sunday after fending off competition during the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

‘Strong’ results?

In “12 Strong,” Hemsworth and Michael Shannon (“The Shape of Water”) play soldiers who fought the Taliban on horseback in the early days of the conflict after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The studio is hoping to attract moviegoers who turned out to see other recent hits about American heroism, including Universal Pictures’ “Lone Survivor” and Warner Bros.’ “Sully.” “12 Strong” could open as high as $20 million, some analysts said, which would be lower than those other two films, but a solid start for a movie that cost roughly $35 million to produce before marketing costs. Warner Bros. earns a distribution fee for releasing the film.

Another unknown factor for “12 Strong’s” success will be critics’ reviews, which were not published as of Tuesday afternoon.

Can ‘Thieves’ steal sales?

STX Entertainment’s film arm STXfilms on Friday will open “Den of Thieves,” an R-rated heist thriller starring Gerard Butler, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. The gritty crime film is expected to collect a moderate $7 million to $10 million Friday through Sunday.

The other film going into wide release this weekend is Roadside Attractions’ “Forever My Girl,” about a country star who returns to the woman he left behind eight years before. Projections for the twangy romance were not available.

Among the glut of awards contenders in the marketplace, Focus Features’ “Phantom Thread” will expand to more than 500 theaters this weekend in hopes of building on its critical acclaim. The Paul Thomas Anderson-directed drama, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as a skilled dressmaker whose life is altered by a new muse, has grossed $2.5 million so far in its limited release.