Box Office Preview: ‘Ender’s Game’ Eyeing $25 Million-Plus North American Debut

Overseas, “Thor: Dark Word” begins its assault, grossing just north of $8 million on Wednesday as it opened in the U.K. and France, among a handful of other territories; high-profile openings at the North American specialty box office include “Diana” and doc “Casting By.”

Sci-fi epic Ender’s Game is poised to win the North American box-office race this weekend with a solid $25 million or more opening, hoping to reverse a disturbing downturn in movie adaptations of young-adult books. Overseas, the film has already opened in the U.K., where it is doing softer-than-expected business.

The big headline internationally this weekend will be Disney and Marvel Studios’ sequel Thor: The Dark World, which began rolling out Wednesday in the U.K., France and a handful of other markets, grossing north of $8 million and pacing ahead of the first Thor. On Thursday and Friday, Thor 2, with Chris Hemsworth returning in the title role, opens in a number of other major markets before hitting theaters in North America on Nov. 8.

Ender’s Game, a co-production between Summit Entertainment, OddLot Entertainment and Digital Domain, will need to do substantial business worldwide in order to make up its $110 million budget. The action-adventure is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, whose anti-gay comments have riled many (though he has said Ender’s Game isn’t a YA property, it has been made widely available in schools).

Directed by Gavin Hood, Ender’s Game stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin. The film should be boosted by a run in Imax theaters.

Outside of the Hunger Games and Twilight film franchises, YA properties have struggled at the box office. This year, The Host, Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones all flopped.

Set in the near future, Ender’s Game revolves around a young boy (Butterfield) who is recruited by the military to stop an alien race from destroying the world.

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