The arrival of the rebooted Power Rangers franchise comes amid a slew of high-profile competition. Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast remake is still expected to rule the box office in its second weekend, but Lionsgate has a good chance to deliver another box-office win with the new Power Rangers, which cost $105 million to make. Power Rangers also has to deal with yet another reboot, Kong: Skull Island, in a surprisingly crowded box office market as March comes to a close.
Power Rangers is projected to earn a strong $30-40 million in its opening weekend, but is still expected to finish second to Beauty and the Beast. However, Kong: Skull Island represents a more direct form of competition for director Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers reboot – and the early returns at the U.S. weekend box office show that the two films had almost exactly the same debut.
As reported by Deadline on Friday, the Thursday domestic box office totals are in and Beauty and the Beast still reigns supreme with an estimated $11 million. But Power Rangers still performed strongly with an estimated $3.6 million at 2,700 theaters, virtually matching the $3.7 million that Kong: Skull Island earned in its own Thursday opening on March 9. Kong earned an estimated $1.88 million on Thursday, while Logan finished third with an estimated $1.4 million.
Power Rangers may not have been able to match Beauty and the Beast, but it dominated the box office compared to other films that premiered on Thursday. Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi thriller Life opened to just $800,000, while the Dax Shepard-starring CHIPs remake made a paltry $500,000.
While Life and CHIPs could be potential box-office busts, Power Rangers has a chance to perform admirably after a strong opening night. It certainly has a big-enough built-in fan base and promise of nostalgia to deliver strong returns at the international box office as well. It remains to be seen how Lionsgate’s reboot performs against Kong: Skull Island, which is in its third weekend. Still, Power Rangers looks to be avoiding a disappointment in its debut, even if it can’t reach the heights of Beauty and the Beast.
One factor that clearly separates Power Rangers from Kong: Skull Island is the critical response. While Power Rangers opened to mostly mixed reviews, the reaction to Kong was largely positive. But both films are part of iconic franchises and had almost the exact same opening, so it will be interesting to see how the worse-received Power Rangers performs over the course of the rest of its opening weekend. Either way, neither film is going to come close to what Beauty and the Beast is accomplishing this weekend.