After last weekend's disappointingly quiet results at movie theaters, perhaps “Chappie” can spark some life into the box office when it opens Friday. The R-rated “RoboCop” look-alike from “District 9” and “Elysium” director Neill Blomkamp is expected to be this weekend’s biggest draw, with estimates from its studio at above the $15 million mark. That’s below the expected $20 million other analysts have predicted for the film budgeted at almost $50 million.
“Chappie” revolves around an innocent police robot with the first programmable consciousness as he’s kidnapped into a world of crime to settle a score between warring gang members. “Chappie” stars frequent Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley as the voice of Chappie. Also in the movie are Dev Patel as Chappie’s creator and Sigourney Weaver as the "profits before people" boss. Die Antwoord musicians Ninja and Yolandi Visser play gang members and Hugh Jackman plays the movie’s militaristic villain.
Following in the lukewarm wake of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” the new Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco comedy “Unfinished Business” looks to draw younger moviegoers more interested in a work comedy than a sci-fi drama. It stars Vaughn as a frustrated businessman trying to close a big deal with two wildly inept younger (Franco) and older (Tom Wilkinson) employees. It is expected to make $5 million to $7 million this weekend.
“Chappie” star Patel is facing off against himself in this weekend’s “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The PG comedy is expected to take in a modest $7 million to $8 million. Patel, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy return to their 2011 roles from “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”; the sequel follows them through a possible expansion opportunity, new romances and a new guest played by Richard Gere.
Last week’s major opening, the Will Smith and Margot Robbie romantic drama “Focus,” fell short of its expected opening with $19 million. The sexy appeal of the Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan romance “Fifty Shades of Grey” looks to be fading fast with even smaller returns from the former box-office champion.