“Lucy,” the Luc Besson thriller starring Scarlett Johansson, roughed up Dwayne Johnson’s “Hercules” to win a box-office battle of new releases this weekend.
The Universal Pictures film took in $44 million to lead U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, researcher Rentrak Corp. (RENT) said today in an e-mailed statement. “Hercules,” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, generated $29 million.
“Lucy” joins a number of smaller-budget movies that have done well this summer, such as “Neighbors” and “22 Jump Street.” The film, made for $40 million according to Box Office Mojo, attracted a broader audience than the Greek epic “Hercules,” which cost an estimated $100 million to make.
Johansson plays a drug mule who accidentally ingests a hormone that frees her from mental and physical limitations, allowing her exact revenge on her outmatched tormentors.
The movie was expected to generate $33 million in domestic sales, the estimate of Box Office Guru.
“Hercules,” starring Dwayne Johnson as the Greek hero, was expected to take in $20 million. It received higher marks from critics, with 63 percent favorable reviews, according to aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. “Lucy” drew a 58 percent positive rating.
Among returning films, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” fell to third place with $16.4 million in sales. The summer sequel from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA), which led the box office for the two previous weekends, has generated ticket sales of $172.1 million so far in domestic theaters.
Horror producer Jason Blum’s “The Purge: Anarchy” fell to fourth from second with $9.9 million in its second week.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” dropped to fifth from third on sales of $9.3 million.