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Game Night Beats Annihilation In Thursday Previews

Black Panther should easily be the king of the box office once again this weekend, but two new releases are battling for second place. Those films are Jason Bateman's comedy Game Night and Natalie Portman's sci-fi flick Annihilation, which had their first head-to-head in Thursday preview showings, during which Game Night came out on top with $1 million. (via Box Office Mojo)

Game Night stars Bateman and Rachel McAdams as an overly competitive couple who gets in over their heads when their regular game night turns into an actual murder investigation. Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and Jesse Plemons also star in the movie, which was directed by Spider-Man: Homecoming co-writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein based on a script from Accepted's Mark Perez.

Game Night is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and currently sits at an 83 percent. Warner Bros. has the film projecting for between $12 and $14 million, while more optimistic estimates from other studios put it around $14 to $19 million. The movie's $1 million in Thursday previews compare well with the $950,000 brought in by 2016's Office Christmas Party, which opened to $16.8 million. 

Annihilation, meanwhile, made $900,000 in Thursday previews. The movie features Portman as a biologist who joins a mission to explore an environmental disaster zone after her husband (Oscar Isaac) disappears. However, the zone, dubbed "The Shimmer" is much more mysterious than she thought. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny also star in the film, which was written and directed by Ex Machina's Alex Garland based on the 2014 Jeff VanderMeer novel of the same name.

Annihilation is also certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 90 percent. Annihilation is projected to earn somewhere between $10 and $12 million in its opening weekend. The movie's $900,000 in previews compares well with Life's $800,000 in previews in March of 2017. That movie wound up with a $12.5 million opening weekend. This weekend's other new release, the YA romantic drama Every Day, will likely earn somewhere between $2.5 and $3 million after receiving middling reviews.

Black Panther should follow up on a record-breaking opening weekend with a massive second weekend, with the movie projecting to easily earn the top spot again with somewhere around $120 million. The movie follows Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa as he heads home to the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as king. Ryan Coogler directed and co-wrote the film, which also stars Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong'o.