“Alien: Covenant” On Track to Lead Weekend Box Office

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Opening weekend receipts for “Alien: Covenant” from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) are expected to range between $35 and $40 million, pushing The Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” as the weekend’s top-grossing movie. “Guardians” is expected to ring up $33 to $35 million in its third weekend of release.

Disney’s “Guardians 2” racked up $146.5 million in its first weekend and $65.3 million in its second weekend of U.S. release. Worldwide, the second movie in the “Guardians” franchise sold nearly $660 million in tickets in its first two weekends of release.

If “Alien: Covenant” reaches the BoxOfficeMojo estimate, it will rank eighth (of eight) movies in the “Alien” franchise, behind 2007’s seventh-place “Aliens Vs. Predator — Requiem” which grossed a total of $41.8 million in domestic release. The top-grossing film in the franchise is 2012’s “Prometheus” with domestic gross of $126.5 million. Adjusted for inflation, the first film, 1979’s “Alien” has grossed just over $278 million.

“Alien: Covenant” had grossed $46.7 million in foreign ticket sales as of last Wednesday according to BoxOfficeMojo and will be released in 54 additional markets this weekend.

Ticket sales for “Guardians 2” last week dropped 55% from the movie’s opening weekend, the best-ever second-weekend drop for a first-time Marvel sequel. If “Guardians 2” were to drop an additional 40% this weekend it would still gross more than $39 million this weekend. BoxOfficeMojo expects “Guardians 2” to finish the weekend with a domestic gross north of $300 million for its first three weeks of release.