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‘Jason Bourne’ expected to knock out the box office competition

Watch the trailer for “Jason Bourne.”

Matt Damon is preparing to punch his way to the top of the U.S. box office charts and revive a long-running franchise for Universal Pictures.

“Jason Bourne,” the fifth film in the series of super-assassin action flicks, is expected to gross $60 million in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys. That would be enough to easily unseat last week’s champion, “Star Trek Beyond” from Paramount Pictures, which opened to $59 million.

A successful launch for “Bourne” would also provide a boost to what has been a roller coaster of a summer movie season so far.

Box-office revenue is down 2.5% to date this summer according to comScore, despite increased ticket prices and huge hits including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Finding Dory” and “The Secret Life of Pets.” Several would-be blockbusters have posted disappointing domestic results, such as “The BFG” and “Ice Age: Collision Course.”

Even movies with solid openings, like “Ghostbusters” and “Star Trek Beyond,” face a long road to profitability because of their substantial production budgets ($144 million and $185 million, respectively).

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“Bourne” has a smaller financial hill to climb to get into the black, costing a relatively low $120 million to make. Universal, cautious in its predictions, is projecting the film to gross $40 million or more this weekend.

Paul Greengrass, who directed “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” returned to make the new thriller, in which Damon’s spy character again faces shadowy forces while trying to piece together the secrets of his past.

The Bourne series, based on characters created by author Robert Ludlum, has proved a powerful draw with audiences. The first installment, 2002’s “The Bourne Identity,” scored $214 million on a production budget of just $60 million. “Bourne Ultimatum,” in 2007, was the franchise’s high point so far, with a $69-million opening weekend and an eventual $443-million worldwide haul.

The 2012 spinoff, “The Bourne Legacy,” led by actor Jeremy Renner instead of Damon, didn’t fare as well, grossing $276 million globally.

Elsewhere at the multiplex, new studio STX Entertainment is hoping its R-rated comedy “Bad Moms” will boost its box-office fortunes after the disappointment of “Free State of Jones.”

“Bad Moms,” starring Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, is expected to enjoy a robust debut of $20 million, having cost an estimated $20 million to produce. The film, about a group of women who rebel against the unrealistic societal expectations of motherhood, is tracking best among women.

And in a midweek bid for the teenage crowd, Lionsgate is releasing the millennial thriller “Nerve,” starring Emma Roberts as a high school student wrapped up in an online game of truth or dare.

Tracking for teen audiences is unpredictable, but the movie is expected to launch with a respectable $12 million to $15 million. Its production budget came in at under $20 million.

ryan.faughdner@latimes.com

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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