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Following October flop Chasing Mavericks, Butler’s soccer-themed romantic comedy Playing for Keeps might open only in the $6 million range, not enough to beat a strong crop of holdovers, including the James Bond pic Skyfall.
FilmDistrict acquired U.S. distribution rights to the movie in 2011. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness), the story follows the travails of a washed-up soccer star who hopes to redeem himself by coaching his son’s soccer team but falls prey to desirable single moms.
Butler, whose next film is White House action pic Olympus Has Fallen, has a mixed record at the box office since 300 made him a Hollywood star, grossing $456.1 million worldwide in spring 2007. His highest-grossing film since is The Ugly Truth ($205.2 million).
Last year, both Coriolanus and Machine Gun Preacher flopped at the domestic box office.
Both this weekend and last mark the lull before the Christmas crush begins with the Dec. 14 release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
New releases at the specialty box office this weekend include Focus Features’ historical drama Hyde Park on the Hudson, starring Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Laura Linney as Eleanor Roosevelt.
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