Box Office: ‘The Bad Guys,’ Viking Epic ‘The Northman’ and Nicolas Cage’s ‘Massive Talent’ to Battle ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

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Nicolas Cage is back… not that he went anywhere.

The actor’s latest movie “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” a meta comedy in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself, is one of several films opening nationwide over the weekend. It’ll compete against director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic “The Northman” and Universal and DreamWorks’ animated family film “The Bad Guys,” as well as last weekend’s champion “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”

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Unless ticket sales crash in week two, “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” the third chapter in the “Harry Potter” spinoff series, should retain the domestic box office crown. After its $43 million debut, the Warner Bros. film is looking to add another $15 million to $20 million in its second weekend of release. However, Paramount’s kid friendly sequel “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” could sneak up to claim first place. The film, which opened earlier in April and has since generated $126 million in North America, is also aiming to bring in ticket sales in the high teens.

“The Bad Guys,” a heist comedy for tots, is expected to land the best start among newcomers. According to early tracking, the film is projected to rake in $15 million to $20 million from 4,000 North American theaters. “The Bad Guys” has already opened at the international box office, where it has earned $52 million from 49 territories to date.

Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson and Awkwafina lead the voice cast of “The Bad Guys,” which follows a crackerjack crew of animal outlaws as they attempt their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. In Variety’s review, film critic Guy Lodge had positive things to say, writing, “[director Pierre] Perifel’s jaunty escapade is still the most likable new offering in some time from the DreamWorks Animation stable, sure to strike gold with families who have exhausted the repeat viewing possibilities of ‘Sing 2.'”

“The Bad Guys” cost $70 million, a standard price tag for animated movies. Less common? An arthouse drama that’s almost as expensive as a comic book movie. And yet, Focus Features shelled out a pretty penny to produce “The Northman,” a bloody tale about a warrior on a quest to avenge his father’s death. On his press tour for the film, Eggers, who previously directed ” The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” has hyped up its huge $90 million budget. However, sources close to the production say the final number was closer to $70 million after factoring in tax incentives. New Regency co-produced and co-financed the movie.

“The Northman” is projected to earn $10 million to $15 million in its first three days of release. Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe star in the film, which has been highly praised. For A.V. Club, critic Tomris Laffly wrote, “Eggers’ immersive approach and stylistic flair creates one wild, applause-worthy combat scene after another, reminding viewers why he’s one of the most unique visual artists working today.”

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is on track to debut to $8 million to $10 million. Directed by Tom Gormican, the wacky buddy comedy of sorts follows Cage, whose star is declining as a billionaire super fan (played by Pedro Pascal) offers him $1 million to attend a birthday party in the Maldives. When events take a turn, Cage teams up with the CIA and channels his most beloved movie characters to save his family from his biggest fan, who may be a drug kingpin.

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” calling it “a delirious good time poking fun at Nicolas Cage, celebrating everything that makes him Nicolas Cage — and, in the end, actually becoming a Nicolas Cage movie, which turns out to be both a cheesy thing and a special thing.”

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