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Box Office: Hilary Swank’s ‘Ordinary Angels’ and ‘Drive-Away Dolls’ Target Single Digit Debuts as Theaters Anxiously Await ‘Dune 2’

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Despite three new releases, Paramount’s Bob Marley biographical drama “One Love” is projected to top the box office again.

This weekend’s newcomers, Hilary Swank’s inspirational drama “Ordinary Angels” and director Ethan Coen’s comedic thriller “Drive-Away Dolls,” are targeting single digits in their debuts. With those paltry ticket sales, “Bob Marley: One Love” looks to repeat No. 1 after scoring a better-than-expected $28.6 million over the weekend and $52 million through the extended holiday frame. The musical film could add $12 million to $14 million in its sophomore outing.

Sony and Crunchyroll’s “Demon Slayer” sequel “To the Hashira Training” also opens this weekend and is aiming for about $10 million to start. That’s on par with its immediate predecessor, 2023’s anime adventure “Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village” ($10.1 million in its initial weekend) but far behind 2021’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” (an impressive $21 million amid pandemic-era theater closures).

Movie theaters are bracing for another painfully slow stretch. It’s been a dire time for the industry with two record-low weekends in February. So, cinema operators are eagerly waiting for the arrival of Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget “Dune: Part Two,” which lands on March 1. Based on presales and early tracking, the sci-fi sequel will deliver a much-needed box office jolt. It’s expected to collect at least $60 million to $80 million in its domestic debut, with some anticipating that ticket sales could approach the $90 million mark. It would be the first movie to open above $50 million since last October’s Blumhouse thriller “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” Until then, box office revenues are all but grinding to a halt.

“Ordinary Angels” looks to collect a tepid $5 million to $7 million from 2,800 North American locations. However, its backers Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company say the film was modestly budgeted, so that could soften box office shortcomings. Plus, audiences may respond to the movie’s feel-good themes — a possible antidote to the often-dreary news cycle.

Jon Gunn directed “Ordinary Angels,” which is based on the true story of a small-town hairdresser who finds a renewed sense of purpose when she meets a widower who is working to make ends meet for his young daughters. Variety’s Courtney Howard complimented the film, saying Gunn’s story isn’t too saccharine. “Even cynics will be won over by the human kindness on display,” she wrote in her review.

Focus Features is releasing “Drive-Away Dolls” in 2,261 North American theaters, where it’s expected to bring in $2 million. The film is getting a much larger footprint than the average specialty release. Focus, which produced the queer crime caper with Working Title, opted for a bigger theater count in response to the lack of fresh product in the marketplace.

Ethan Coen, one half of the filmmaking brothers behind “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski” and “No Country for Old Men,” directed “Drive-Away Dolls” in his solo debut and wrote the screenplay with his wife Tricia Cooke. Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan and Beanie Feldstein star in the R-rated movie, which follows two friends who embark on an impromptu road trip to Florida where they cross paths with some bumbling criminals. It’s been divisive among reviewers (it holds a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes), though Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman had plenty of praise for Qualley. “[She] now takes her charisma to the next level,” describing her character as “Kristen Stewart crossed with Katharine Hepburn.”

Otherwise, holdover films like Matthew Vaughn’s spy sendup “Argylle,” animated comedy “Migration” and fantasy musical “Wonka” will round out box office charts.

It’s unclear where Sony’s comic book adaptation “Madame Web” will land in its sophomore outing. Given the film’s terrible reception, it wouldn’t be unexpected for ticket sales to drop by 60% or more. The “Spider-Man” spin-off, starring Dakota Johnson as a paramedic with psychic abilities, generated just $15 million over the weekend and $26 during the six-day holiday period.