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Box Office Report: Jennifer Lawrence, Clint Eastwood Lead Close Friday Race

Lawrence Eastwood Box Office - H 2012

Jake Gyllenhaal cop drama "End of Watch" is making gains on Lawrence's "House at the End of the Street" and Eastwood's "Trouble with the Curve."

A trio of films are battling it out at the Friday box office -- Clint Eastwood's baseball drama Trouble with the Curve, Jennifer Lawrence horror pic House at the End of the Street and filmmaker David Ayer's L.A.P.D. drama End of Watch.

The surprise of the day is End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. The film, released by Open Road Films, is overperforming in its debut and could end up on par with Warner Bros.' Trouble with the Curve and Relativity Media's House at the End of the Street.

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Box office observers believe the three films will all end up in the $11 million to $14 million range. Some believe House at the End of the Street could edge past the other two, but were reluctant to make hard-and-fast predictions.

The fourth new wide release of the weekend is Pete Travis' 3D comic book adaptation Dredd, distributed by Lionsgate. Early returns suggest the film will open in the $7 million to $8 million range for the weekend.

Box office observers also are tracking Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, which makes an aggressive expansion this weekend after opening last weekend in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The Weinstein Co. film, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, will be playing in a total of 800 theaters as of Friday and could earn in the $5 million range for the weekend.

From Warner Bros., Trouble with the Curve is almost certain to draw an older audience. It also could do particularly well among conservative voters pleased with Eastwood's recent speech at the Republican National Convention (conversely, Eastwood's speech might have alienated liberals).

Trouble with the Curve, about an aging baseball scout who goes on one last trip with his daughter, is directed by Rob Lorenz, Eastwood's longtime producing partner. It's the first film that Eastwood has starred in, but not directed, since In the Line of Fire in 1993.

Eastwood's films tend to open on the modest side, but can have strong legs. Invictus opened to $8.6 million in 2009, while J. Edgar debuted to $11.2 million last year.

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In House at the End of the Street, Lawrence stars opposite Elisabeth Shue and Max Thieriot. Relativity Media acquired rights to the horror pic, about a mother and daughter who move into the house of their dreams, for roughly $2.5 million. FilmNation and A Bigger Boat produced the film, directed by Mark Tonderai, for under $10 million.

Dredd, which Lionsgate is distributing for DNA Films and IM Global, stars Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, a law enforcer in the vast dystopian metropolis Mega-City One. The 3D pic, based on the comic strip Judge Dredd, was shot in South Africa and written by Alex Garland. Dredd also stars Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris and Lena Headey.

Ayer's End of Watch, produced by Exclusive Media and distributed domestically by Open Road Films, stars Gyllenhaal and Pena as L.A.P.D. officers who battle a drug cartel. The film cost roughly $7 million to produce.

End of Watch and Dredd both played at the recent Toronto Film Festival and have received strong reviews.

New offerings at the specialty box office include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. The film was directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the book upon which the film is based.