Box Office: ‘Pixels’ beats ‘Ant-Man’ on Friday but is it game over for the weekend?

After weeks of booming ticket sales the box office lost some luster Friday as three new films entered the marketplace to mixed results.  And, at this point at least, the lower frame does not seem to be the result over public anxiety following Thursday night's tragic shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana movie theater.

Sony Pictures' family adventure “Pixels” debuted at no. 1 with $9.2 million.  It's expected to earn between $24-26 million for the three-day which is slightly below pre-polling estimates.  Marketing for the Chris Columbus comedy did everything possible to hide the fact Adam Sandler was a main character, but there are bigger issues that contributed to an opening day of under $10 million.  Receiving some of the worst reviews of the summer clearly didn't help.  “Pixels” earned just a 19% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a 26 grade on Metacritic.  Throw in just a B Cinemascore and “Pixels” does not appear to be the summer player many thought it might be.  

Last weekend's champ, “Ant-Man,” wasn't too far behind with $7.2 million and $88.5 million in just eight days.  The Marvel Studios release should cross the $100 million mark by tomorrow and could actually end up winning the weekend.  It will all depend on which of the top two movies gets the bigger Saturday matinee bump.

“Minions” is still making its presence felt with another $6.7 million and $246.2 million in a little over two weeks. A massive global hit for Universal Studios, the flick is starting to slow down considerably in the U.S.  And despite a bigger debut initially, it may actually have a hard time surpassing the eventually tally for the summer's other big animated hit, “Inside Out.”

20th Century Fox was hoping to duplicate last year's massive “Fault in Our Stars” success with “Paper Towns,” but it simply wasn't meant to be.  The John Green adaptation took in $6.3 million on its first day for what should just be a $15-16 million three-day. “Fault” opened to $48 million in June of 2014.  Fox always had conservative expectations without Shailene Woodley's star power as part of the mix, but considering some tracking services predicted a $30 million plus opening this flimsy debut has to be somewhat disheartening.

The Weinstein Company's “Southpaw” rounded out the top five with $6.2 million and what should also be a $15-16 million frame.  The Antoine Fuqua boxing tale earned mixed reviews from critics, but a fine A Cinemascore grade from audiences.  TWC hopes that will help “Southpaw” have long legs like recent Jake Gyllenhaal flicks “Nightcrawler,” “The Source Code” and “End of Watch.”

Despite the events in Lafayette “Trainwreck” took in another $5.3 million for sixth place.  The Judd Apatow directed comedy has earned $49.5 million in just eight days and could crack the top five by Sunday.

Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.

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