Warner Bros. rolled out its video game reboot Tomb Raider last night for Thursday sneak previews, and the Box Office results were not groundbreaking, but still a lot better than expected. Tomb Raider took in an estimated $2.1 million in sneak peek screenings that took place in over 3,100 theaters last night, before it opens in 3,854 theaters starting today. Most analysts are predicting an opening weekend in the mid $20 million range, although most also have Black Panther just beating it with a fifth-weekend gross in the high $20 million range.
Unfortunately for Tomb Raider, it isn't getting much help from critics, with its opening day score on Rotten Tomatoes nearly split right down the middle with 49% (71 positive reviews, 73 negative reviews). The movie's 3,854 theater count puts it in the same ballpark as four-time box office champ Black Panther (3,942) and last week's runner-up A Wrinkle In Time (3,980), although its middling critical reception may hinder its box office performance. With both Tomb Raider and Black Panther expected to play at least in the mid $20 million range, it may be a closer weekend than most expected.
Alicia Vikander takes over the Lara Croft mantle in this version of Tomb Raider, which comes 17 years after Angelina Jolie starred as the iconic video game character in 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 15 years after its 2003 sequel Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life. Surprisingly, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider still holds the all-time record for the highest-grossing video game adaptation at the domestic box office ($131.2 million), although Warcraft broke the worldwide record with $433.6 million in 2016, despite tanking at the domestic box office with $47.3 million. If this Tomb Raider reboot does open in the mid $20 million range, and posts minimal decreases throughout the spring, it could have a shot at dethroning its predecessor's record.
The story is adapted from the 2013 reboot of the video game series, which focuses on a much younger Lara Croft as she goes on her first ever adventure, tracking down her long-missing father. Alicia Vikander leads a diverse cast that also includes Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel, the villainous character from the video game reboot, with Dominic West as Lara's father, Richard Croft, Daniel Wu playing Lara's ally Lu Ren, Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana Miller, the former business partner of Lara's father, and Derek Jacobi as Mr. Yaffe.
Roar Uthaug, a Norwegian director best known for the critically-acclaimed film The Wave, directs Tomb Raider from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel and Alastair Siddons (Trespass Against Us). The movie was made on a relatively modest budget of $94 million, so if it can ring up a debut in the mid to high $20 million range, with a decent haul overseas, it could end up turning a modest profit for the studio. The projections from Box Office Mojo still put Black Panther on top for a fifth straight weekend, which would make the Marvel movie the first since Avatar to win for five straight weekends in a row. Check back on Sunday to see if Black Panther retains its top spot, or if Tomb Raider can pull off an upset win.