Sony’s Brad Pitt baseball drama Moneyball topped the Friday box office with an estimated $6.8 million, but family pics Dolphin Tale and The Lion King remain formidable competitors in the race around the bases for the weekend crown.
The big surprise continued to be Disney’s 3D re-release of Lion King, which took No. 2 with an estimated gross of $6 million — meaning it could match Moneyball with a weekend total of $19 million to $20 million and pushing its cume to $60 million.
Dolphin Tale — from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., the same team behind The Blind Side — was on course to gross an estimated $5 million for the day. The best news for the filmmakers: The inspirational film is only the third movie this year after The Help and Soul Surfer to earn a glowing A+ CinemaScore, meaning it could get a big bump from word of mouth on Saturday and gain on the competition. (Blind Side also received the top grade).
Audiences also fell hard for Moneyball, giving it an A CinemaScore. The critically acclaimed film is already earning early awards attention for Pitt’s performance as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s.
From Lionsgate, Abduction grossed an estimated $4 million, followed closely by Jason Statham-Robert DeNiro action pic Killer Elite at $3.7 million.
Abduction — a test of Lautner’s star power outside the Twilight franchise — is now looking at a weekend gross of $11 million to $11.5 million. The pic received a B-CinemaScore, and poor reviews.
Killer Elite, the first title from acquisition and distribution company Open Road Films, should earn $10 million for the weekend and earned a B+ CinemaScore.