Box Office Report: 'Lion King,' 'Dolphin Tale' and 'Moneyball' Lock-Out New Films

 Walt Disney

Faith-based pic Courageous may be turning in a surprisingly strong performance at the Friday box office, but holdovers The Lion King, Dolphin Tale and Moneyball are still expected to top the weekend box office chart when all is said and done.

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From Sherwood Pictures and TriStar, Courageous is doing impressive business for only playing on 1,161 theaters, and could well beat the weekend’s three other new films—Josh Gordon-Levitt-Seth Rogen cancer dramedy 50/50, Anna Faris-Chris Evans R-rated comedy What’s Your Number? and Daniel Craig-Rachel Weisz horror pic Dream House.

Early estimates suggest Courageous could gross north of $9 million for the weekend, athough it could be front-loaded with Friday group sales. Pre-release tracking showed the pic debuting to $6 million, in line with the $6.8 million debut of Fireproof on the same weekend in 2008.

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Courageous and Fireproof were both made by the filmmaking unit of the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Directed by Alex Kendrick, Courageous is about four police officers struggling with their faith; Kendrick co-wrote the script with brother Stephen Kendrick and also stars.

Box office observers believe Lion King, Dolphin Tale and Moneyball will gross in the $12 million to $14 million range for the weekend, with Lion King and Dolphin Tale likely to vying for No. 1.

Early Friday returns show Summit Entertainment’s 50/50 grossing $9 million for the weekend, lower than expected, although Friday night business could push that number upwards.

Will Reiser penned the script for 50/50, which is loosely based on his own experience with cancer. Jonathan Levine directed, while Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick and Anjelica Huston also star.

Morgan Creek’s horror-thriller pic Dream House, also starring Naomi Watts and distributed by Universal, is projected to land in the same range in its debut, if not slightly higher.

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