Box Office: ‘Civil War’ Second Weekend Leading ‘Abigail’ and ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ in Tight Race

It’s a close contest at the domestic box office, with the opening day gross of Universal’s ballerina vampire film “Abigail” leading Lionsgate’s fellow new release “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” and the second frame of A24’s dystopian thriller “Civil War.”

“Abigail” earned $4 million from 3,384 theaters across its opening day and preview screenings, making it the top performer of the weekend so far. But, after factoring out the $1 million that the horror film earned from screenings before Friday, it comes up behind A24’s “Civil War,” which was actually the top grosser for April 19, taking in roughly $3.3 million.

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Meanwhile, Lionsgate’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” fired off about $3.7 million from 2,845 locations — a figure that includes $1.45 million across earlier preview screenings. All three films are eyeing weekend grosses in the low-teens or high-single-digits.

For “Abigail,” that’d come up a bit short of industry projections, which floated an opening in the $12 million to $15 million range. The original R-rated vampire movie is the first at Universal for directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, the filmmaking team known as Radio Silence that revived the “Scream” franchise with its recent fifth and sixth entries.

“Abigail” carries a fairly modest, though not insubstantial, production budget of $28 million, so the film will hope to have some staying power in the weeks ahead. Reviews have been positive, while early ticketbuyers are more mixed (typical for horror), as indicated by the B grade determined by audience survey firm Cinema Score.

Melissa Barrera reunites with Radio Silence to lead “Abigail,” starring alongside a cast that includes Dan Stevens, Will Catlett, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, Giancarlo Esposito, Alisha Weir and the late Angus Cloud. The story follows a heist team whose scheme to nab $50 million (nearly double the film’s production budget!) goes awry when they encounter a blood-guzzling little monster.

Meanwhile, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” looks to land above industry projections of $5 million to $6 million. Nice overperformance, but the action-comedy reportedly cost around $60 million to produce.

For director Guy Ritchie, the film represents another box office misfire after the heist film “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” and the war thriller “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” both of which went to theaters last year and failed to match their production budgets in global grosses. The hope is for a strong home video life for the Black Bear-financed war film, indicated by Prime Video already taking the bulk of distribution rights worldwide. Lionsgate is giving the film a theatrical run in North America.

Reviews have leaned positive and audiences are into it (notched an A- grade on Cinema Score). But contending for third against the fourth weekend of “Godzilla x Kong” isn’t exactly a splashy debut.

Henry Cavill, Henry Golding, Alan Ritchson and Eiza González star in “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” which puts a pulp spin on the history books, following a British platoon that organizes an attack against the Nazis during World War II.

In its sophomore outing, A24’s “Civil War” is looking sturdy, with industry rivals projecting a 56% drop from its $25.7 million opening weekend. That’s not as steep as that lukewarm B- Cinema Score grade would suggest, meaning A24 has reached an audience interested in being challenged. The Alex Garland-directed thriller has a strong shot at retaining the top slot on domestic charts this weekend, an impressive result for the indie studio’s most expensive production to date. A24 sold rights to foreign markets ahead of release, helping to recoup some costs early. Now, as domestic grosses push past $40 million Saturday, the war thriller seems to be in a solid place.

Also opening this weekend, Sony’s anime label Crunchyroll is putting “Spy x Family Code: White” in 2,009 theaters, with some play in Imax auditoriums too. The adaptation of the hit manga series “Spy x Family” is projecting $4.8 million over the three-day frame, which would be good for a top five finish on domestic charts. It’s satisfying fans, who turned in an A grade on Cinema Score.

Meanwhile, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is poised to potentially upset the competition with a top three finish, as the Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. feature earned $2.3 million on Friday, down 40% from a week ago. Now in its fourth weekend of release, the monster mash looks to push beyond $170 million domestic through Sunday. It’s closely contending with Universal’s “Kung Fu Panda 4” ($175 million) for the title of second-highest-grossing North American release of the year.

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