Infinity War’ to win third box-office weekend as ‘Life of the Party’ courts Mother’s Day crowds

Two new movies will court Mother’s Day crowds this weekend at the box office: Melissa McCarthy’s “Life of the Party” and the Gabrielle Union-led thriller “Breaking In.” But neither pose a serious threat to Iron Man, Black Panther and the host of other superheroes currently dominating the multiplex.

Disney’s “Avengers: Infinity War” is expected to gross roughly $60 million in the U.S. and Canada Friday through Sunday, after already amassing $1.2 billion in global receipts as of Wednesday estimates. That includes $472 million in domestic ticket sales for the 19th Marvel Studios movie. “Infinity Warcost an estimated $300 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive films ever made.

“Infinity War” is the latest success in a growing string of hits for Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios, once again proving the commercial appeal of the interconnected superhero universe Marvel has spent a decade building for the big screen.

The Avengers take Beijing

After taking over the rest of the world, the Disney juggernaut turns its focus on China this week, where “Infinity War” is expected to do big business when it opens Friday. The movie has already scored strong Chinese pre-sales figures, according to local news outlets.

Marvel movies are popular with audiences in China, the world’s second-largest moviegoing market, and the “Avengers” hero mashups are no exception. The 2015 installment “Avengers: Age of Ultron” grossed $240 million in the country, according to Box Office Mojo. The recent release of “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, boasted Chinese sales of $105 million.

Mother’s Day contest

In the U.S., Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema are betting on reliable star McCarthy to launch their latest comedy “Life of the Party,” about a middle-age mom who returns to college after her husband dumps her.

The PG-13 flick is expected to launch with $17 million to $22 million through Sunday, according to people who’ve reviewed pre-release audience surveys. That opening would be on par with the 2014 R-rated comedy “Tammy,” which opened with $21 million and ended up with $84 million domestically. As with “Tammy,” “Life of the Party” was directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, who co-wrote the screenplay with McCarthy.

Lastly, Universal Pictures will unveil “Breaking In,” the latest project from “Girls Trip” producer Will Packer, who has a solid track record of profitable hits made primarily for African American audiences, and especially women.

“Breaking In,” which stars Union as a mother who goes to extraordinary lengths to protect her family from a home invasion, is expected to gross about $15 million in its opening weekend. Movies from Packer’s production company, which also made “Ride Along” and “No Good Deed,” have a history of outperforming expectations.

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