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‘Maze Runner’ expected to outpace Johnny Depp’s ‘Black Mass’

20th Century Fox/Everett Collection
”Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” should build on franchise and win the weekend at the box office.

People are abuzz about Johnny Depp’s performance in weekend newcomer “Black Mass” ahead of awards season. But “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is expected to outpace Depp’s crime flick at box offices this weekend.

“The Scorch Trials” should finish the weekend in the No. 1 spot, raking in $38 million for 20th Century Fox FOXA, -0.41% FOX, -0.06% according to Phil Contrino at The first film in the “Maze Runner” young adult book franchise opened with $32 million in box office revenue in 2014, on a $34 million production budget. As the second installment, “The Scorch Trials” has a beefier $61 million price tag.

Contrino said Depp’s work as notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass,” which is already generating talk of a best actor nod, will help the movie surprise some at the box office. He’s expecting the film, which Variety called career-best work for Depp, to open with $34 million for Warner Bros. and Time Warner Inc. TWX, -0.48%

“This is going to be a strong weekend in general,” Contrino said. “To say this is a comeback performance for Johnny Depp is a little much, he didn’t really go away, but ‘Black Mass’ is a much different role for him, and it’s really...