Kung Fu Panda 4 takes on King Arthur starring Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg's drama “King Arthur” opens in theaters on Friday, but it may not be enough to top the domestic box office.

The Lionsgate film, a feel-good story about a man who befriends a wounded stray dog, is targeting a $8 million to $10 million opening at 3,000 North American theaters. It's a good start for a film that had a budget of around $20 million.

Despite the newcomer, last weekend's champion “Kung Fu Panda 4” is expected to dominate again with roughly $28 million to $30 million in its second outing. To date, the Fourquel animated film has grossed $62 million at the domestic box office and $93 million worldwide.

“Dune: Part Two” won't be far behind “Panda,” as the sci-fi adventure looks to continue its impressive run at the box office. The “Dune” sequel is expected to add between $24 million to $27 million during its third weekend of release. After 12 days on the big screen, “Dune 2” has grossed $162 million domestically and $375 million worldwide. It has already surpassed the entire domestic run of the original $108 million. (However, those ticket sales were dampened by its debut in theaters and on HBO Max.) The next film will soon surpass its predecessor ($433 million) at the worldwide box office as well.

Another new release, Focus Features' satirical comedy “The American Magical Negro Society,” is aiming for low singles numbers in its debut at 1,146 venues in North America. Debut director Kobe Libby directed the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Judge Smith and David Alan Grier star in “The American Negro Magical Society,” which takes a look inside an organization that exists to make life easier for white people.

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“King Arthur” is directed by Simon Cellan-Jones (“The Family Plan”) and written by Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”), who adapted the screenplay from Mikael Lindenward's book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Woods 'to Find a Home.'” tells the story of The film is the true story of a professional adventure racer and a confused street dog who form a bond and accompany each other on a treacherous journey. Early reception suggests that audiences, especially those who crave a good cry, may respond to the film's inspiring themes. In miscellaneous Critic Courtney Howard says the filmmakers “put our stamina, our tear ducts, and our psychological well-being to the test.”

“While it never strays from a predictable path, the journey is rarely dull, making our journeys and the travails of these characters worthy of the big screen,” she wrote.

Lionsgate is certainly hoping “Arthur the King” will surprise in the same vein as Channing Tatum's road-trip adventure “Dog,” which opened with $15 million in 2022 and went on to gross $84 million globally.

The box office could certainly capitalize on a sleeper hit. Gross domestic revenues are still about 10% behind the same period in 2023, according to Comscore. “Dune: Part Two” and “Kung Fu Panda 4” helped fill the gap, but theater owners still need to catch up on Sony's “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” (March 22), the Warner Bros.-produced monster mash-up. and Legendary “Godzilla x” “Kong: The New Empire” (March 29) to continue enticing moviegoers to save the month.

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