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Early Returns: The Purge Off to Strong Start

If the ticket-sales numbers for Thursday-night previews are any indication, The Purge: Election Year is going to give the week's two big-budget new movies an exhausting run for their money. The third installment in the low-budget horror franchise kicked off the holiday weekend with relatively robust sales on Thursday, while both The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG failed to impress on their first night in theaters.

The Purge earned $3.6 million on Thursday, which is ahead of both of the first two films in the franchise. The original film took in $3.4 million on its first night, and The Purge: Anarchy earned $2.6 million.

The Purge easily outpaced The Legend of Tarzan, which earned $2.7 million on Thursday. That's a decent, if not outstanding, first day for the film, but the week's other big new release - arguably the biggest film of the week - didn't fare nearly as well. Steven Spielberg's The BFG took in only $775,000 on Thursday and looks to be headed for a disappointing debut.

None of the three films is expected to outperform Finding Dory. The animated Pixar film heads into its thrid weekend with considerable momentum, and even if it falls off considerably from last weekend, it should still finish ahead of the three new films.