The third installment of the Maze Runner franchise is opening strong with a projected $24 million domestic debut according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the finale to the dystopian trilogy, based on a series of young adult novels by James Dashner. It managed to bring $1.5 million in early screenings on Thursday, which factored into the opening weekend total.
The success of The Death Cure likely comes as a huge relief to studio executives, who were forced to delay the movie's release by a year. Early on in filming, the franchise's star, Dylan O'Brien, was injured on set, and the whole production shut down to facilitate his recovery. The series somehow held onto its momentum, and a year later, fans have turned out in droves for the big conclusion.
The series began with a group of teens fighting to escape an elaborate labyrinth. By contrast, the conclusion sees them fighting to break into a highly secure facility. Since the first film premiered in 2014, the series has been lauded by critics, even among other young adult novel adaptations.
The Death Cure has finally knocked Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle out of the top spot after six weekends. The reboot of a 90s classic won't take too much of a hit however. It will land in a close second place with a projected $17 million for the weekend.
Welcome to The Jungle has been a surprise success, as many fans of the old-school original were put off by the new video game take. Even detractors have begrudgingly admitted that the movie is a fun time, and Dwayne Johnson has been taking the time to debate Jumanji canon with fans on Twitter.
Rounding out the weekend at the box office is The Post, which is expected to pull in $8 million, and The Shape of Water, which is hoping for $4 million with its low circulation. Both films will benefit from the Oscar buzz, as hardcore film fans will want to have the movies fresh in their minds before the award show airs.