Box Office Report: 'Captain America' Winning Friday Race Domestically
"Friends With Benefits" also off to a solid start; heat wave could help push moviegoers to theaters.
The Friday box office is delivering good news for Hollywood, with the Chris Evans-starrer Captain America: The First Avenger looking to win the day with a gross of $25 million or better, including $4 million in midnight earnings.
A record-breaking heat wave on the East Coast could boost movie going, as people look to escape the soaring temperatures.
If Paramount and Marvel's latest superhero pic holds up, Captain America could wrest the weekend crown away from Warner Bros.' mammoth performer Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which has already grossed north of $226 million at the domestic box office alone (Harry Potter will remain No. 1 overseas, where Captain America is rolling out slowly).
Screen Gems' R-rated raunchy comedy Friends With Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, is also off to a solid start. The pic, directed by Will Gluck, is expected to gross $7 million or more on Friday, meaning it could reach $20 million for the weekend.
Earlier this year, Paramount and Spyglass' Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher raunchy comedy No Strings Attached grossed $7.3 million on its opening Friday, and $19.7 million for the weekend.
Directed by Joe Johnston, Captain America also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper and Stanley Tucci.
Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a sickly man who is transformed into a super-soldier during World War II who helps stop Red Skull, a key force in Adolf Hitler's fight for world domination.
Captain America did more in midnight business than the summer's other three superhero pics --Thor, X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern.
X-Men: First Class, from 20th Century Fox, earned $3.4 in midnight runs on its way to grossing $55.1 million for the weekend.
Also from Paramount and Marvel, Thor grossed $3.25 million in midnight shows on its way to a $65 million opening.
Paramount projects that Captain America will open somewhere between First Class and Thor.
Based on early Friday returns, box office observers are suggesting that Captain America could gross north of $55 for the weekend, while Deathly Hallows 2 could gross north of $50 million.