Box Office Preview: 'Focus' to Test Will Smith's Star Power

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The romantic caper is expected to steal the top spot from 'Fifty Shades of Grey.'

Will Smith returns to the big screen this weekend in Focus, his first leading role since box-office bomb After Earth in summer 2013.

As such, the Warner Bros. movie will be a test of Smith's star status, both in North America and overseas. He stars opposite Margot Robbie in the romantic caper, written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

The $50 million film is tipped to topple holdover Fifty Shades of Grey and claim the top spot domestically with a debut in the $20 million-to-$22 million range.

Focus also opens in a raft of international markets. The storyline revolves around a con man who introduces a young flame to the tricks of his trade before breaking off the relationship. Three years later, they meet again in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when they're both trying to scam the same billionaire (Rodrigo Santoro).

The weekend's other new nationwide offering is Relativity Studios' The Lazarus Effect, the latest microbudgeted horror film from Blumhouse, which produced the movie with Mosaic. Tracking suggests the movie — starring Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters and Donald Glover — will open in the $12 million-to-$14 million range.

David Gelb directed Lazarus Effect, which follows a group of researchers who try to achieve the unimaginable and bring the dead back to life.

There are several high-profile titles opening at the specialty box office, including David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, whose ensemble cast includes Oscar winner Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson. Focus Features opens the film, which earned decidedly mixed reviews, in 50 theaters.

Roadside Attractions rolls out the critically acclaimed war drama '71 in select theaters. Set in Northern Ireland in 1971, the movie tells the story of a British soldier who becomes separated from his unit during a riot in Belfast. Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, David Wilmot, Richard Dormer and Paul Anderson star.

Everly, a female action pic starring Salma Hayek, also opens in select theaters via Radius-TWC.

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