Box Office: ‘The Hunt’ and ‘Bloodshot’ No Match for Pixar’s ‘Onward’

Three new movies will hit theaters on Friday, but likely none will be able to dethrone the reigning box office champ, “Onward.” Disney’s animated fantasy adventure debuted to $39 million last weekend, a lackluster result for a Pixar film, but enough to dominate the competition.

Unless one of this weekend’s newcomers — Universal’s “The Hunt,” Sony’s “Bloodshot” and Lionsgate’s “I Still Believe” — beats expectations, “Onward” should have no trouble leading the pack again. “Onward” could add another $15 million to $17 million in its sophomore outing, should it perform similarly to 2015’s “The Good Dinosaur” and 2017’s “Cars 3” — two Pixar movies that saw opening weekend ticket sales comparable to “Onward.” Meanwhile, each of the three offerings hitting multiplexes this weekend is projected to earn around $10 million.

“The Hunt,” though eyeing a quieter launch, is perhaps the most high-profile among the new titles. The violent satirical thriller was initially slated to debut last September, but was pulled from Universal’s slate after a trio of mass shootings. Before “The Hunt” was shelved, the film stirred up controversy when President Donald Trump criticized it on Twitter, saying it was made to “inflame and cause chaos.” “The Hunt” depicts elites who kidnap and prey on average Americans for sport. An early trailer for the movie referred to those being hunted as “deplorables.”

Universal announced earlier in 2020 that it would ultimately release the film and used the public turmoil as a marketing tactic, rebranding “The Hunt” with the tagline, “The most talked about movie of the year is the one nobody has seen … yet.” Whether the movie — directed by Craig Zobel — being talked about translates into ticket sales remains to be seen. “The Hunt” was produced by Blumhouse for $14 million, a modest figure that’s on the higher end compared to most low-budget Blumhouse titles. It got mixed reviews, with Variety’s Peter Debruge saying “The Hunt” “delivers the excitement, if not necessarily the deeper social critique.”

Damon Lindelof, creator of HBO’s “Watchmen” and “Lost,” wrote “The Hunt,” which will play in 3,000 theaters in North America this weekend. The film, intended to illustrate and poke fun at the political divide in America, stars Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts and Hilary Swank.

Although “The Hunt” is rated R, it could compete for attention from moviegoers with “Bloodshot,” a PG-13 superhero thriller starring Vin Diesel. “Bloodshot,” opening on 2,800 screens across the U.S. and Canada, cost $45 million and could struggle to turn a profit if projections hold. Should “Bloodshot” fall short of commercial expectations, Sony won’t be on the hook entirely — Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group and Cross Creek Pictures co-financed the film.

David S. F. Wilson directed “Bloodshot,” an adaptation of the comic book about a marine who was killed in action and later brought back to life with superhuman abilities. The cast also includes Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell and Guy Pearce.

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