Early matinee numbers on Friday are rarely worth mentioning, but with today’s seemingly low-tracking Bourne Legacy opening it would appear there is a reason to take note. Hollywood’s estimates of a $30-40 million opening weekend look to be a tad conservative from what we are seeing in the data so far. Fans of the Bourne series are flocking to the latest installment despite the loss of its leading man, showing a pace of $45+ million for its first three days of release.
Part of the pessimism the industry had going into the weekend was because this was not just a new face taking over. It was also the fact that the franchise’s new star Jeremy Renner had been largely untested before today. Whenever he was in big blockbuster features, the actor had another shoulder to lean on be it Tom Cruise or a rag tag group of superheroes. Furthermore, there was a new premise to buy into that included the acceptance of ‘additional programs’ outside of Treadstone which took center stage with the Matt Damon trilogy.
On that note, this is still noticeably down from the last two Damon outings which banked $53 million and $69 million in their debuts last decade. Each had better reviews and the benefit of an established story which is something largely expected for the Bourne Legacy’s successors. Universal has a trilogy in mind as Renner is attached for three pictures, something that the studio will take full advantage of given how successful the quasi-reboot has been thus far.
Assuming the numbers stay where they are, this will go down as Renner’s coming out party as a legit action star capable of spearheading his own franchise. It could mean wonders for his next movie down the road which is a gritty R-rated version of Hansel & Gretel where its title characters grow up to be witch hunters. Go figure. That film opens in January 2013.