Box Office: Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Argylle’ Starts Off With $1.7M in Previews

Matthew Vaughn’s action spy-comedy Argylle hopes to be an agent of change at the box office this weekend, but it could be a tough mission to complete.

The pic, whose star-packed ensemble cast is led by Henry Cavill and Bryce Dallas Howard, started off its box office tour with a subdued $1.7 million in Thursday previews. That’s not a surprise, considering the $200 million movie has been largely skewered by critics and is only expected to earn $15 million to $20 million in its domestic opening. There is certainly a potential for upside if word of mouth is strong.

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Universal is distributing the pic on behalf of Apple Original Films, which is presenting Argylle in association with MARV, a Cloudy Production.

Whatever the outcome, Argylle is still welcome news for theater owners, considering the overall slowdown in product because of the lingering impact of last year’s strikes. There hasn’t been one new wide studio release in two weeks.

Argylle has the benefit of playing in Imax and other premium large format screens, and it is rolling out in almost every market around the globe.

Described by the filmmakers as a reality-bending spy thriller, the movie centers around the author of best-selling spy novels (Howard) who is a cat-loving recluse. But when the plots of her books begin coming to life, her days of tranquility are over.

Accompanied by a cat-allergic spy (Sam Rockwell), the author — carrying her feline in her backpack — races across the world to stay one step ahead of the killers. The ensemble cast also features John Cena, Ariana DeBose, Dua Lipa, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Sofia Boutella and Samuel L. Jackson. Alfie is played by Chip, the real-life cat of supermodel Claudia Vaughn (née Schiffer).

Vaughn directed from a script by Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman).

Apple pledged its commitment to theatrical last year when announcing it will give certain movies a proper run on the big screen, beginning with Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominee Killers of The Flower Moon and followed by Ridley Scott’s Napoleon. Both movies likewise cost $200 million or more to back, yet Apple isn’t judged like a legacy Hollywood studios when it comes to box office performance because of its deep pockets.

While it may be an award darling, Killers has only grossed $157.6 million at the global box office. Napoleon has fared somewhat better with $219.4 million to date.

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