Box Office Report: Tom Cruise's 'Oblivion' Headed for $38.5 Million Weekend

 Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

Easily topping the Friday box office, Tom Cruise's Oblivion is now expected to clear a better-than-expected $38.5 million for the weekend.

That would mark one of Cruise's better openings in North America, although moviegoers only gave the movie a B- CinemaScore. Overseas, he has remained a much bigger star. Opening last weekend in numerous foreign markets, Oblivion has already earned nearly $100 million internationally.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), Oblivion co-stars Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark produced.

PHOTOS: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman Land at 'Oblivion' Premiere 

Adult male moviegoers are fueling Oblivion, which cost Universal and Elliot Inc. at least $120 million to produce.

Cruise's track record domestically has been mixed. Jack Reacher debuted to $15.2 million in December on its way to earning a so-so $80 million in North America. Conversely, Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, opening to $29.6 million in December 2011, turned into a box-office monster, grossing nearly $700 million worldwide.

Sci-fi is a familiar genre for Cruise, who starred in War of the Worlds and Minority Report, both directed by Steven Spielberg.

Set in 2077, 60 years after Earth has been destroyed by aliens, Oblivion follows one of the last humans stationed on the planet as he uncovers a troubling secret. 

Universal decided to get a jump on the beginning of the crowded summer box office by opening Oblivion now. The studio has gone aggressively after males by advertising during major sporting events including the NCAA's March Madness.

VIDEO: 'Oblivion's' Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko on Nostalgia and Saving the Earth 

Oblivion opens in another seven international markets this weekend.

Legendary and Warner Bros.' Jackie Robinson biopic 42 continued to score strong numbers, grossing $5.2 million on its second Friday to place No. 2 behind Oblivion. The baseball drama is expected to take in $17 million or more for the weekend, pushing its domestic total to roughly $53 million.

Expanding nationwide into more than 1,500 theaters this weekend is Derek Cianfrance's indie drama The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling. The film, from Focus Features, grossed $1.4 million on Friday to place No. 6 and is projecting a weekend gross in the $4.4 million range.

Email: pamela.mcclintock@thr.com

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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