Box Office Report: Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball' Tops Friday; Taylor Lautner's 'Abduction' Lands at No. 4

Sony Pictures; Lionsgate
"Moneyball," left, and "Abduction"

The baseball drama brings in $6.8 million, followed by "Lion King" and new family pic "Dolphin Tale"; "Abduction" and Jason Statham's "Killer Elite" trail.

Sony’s Brad Pitt baseball drama Moneyball topped the Friday box office with an estimated $6.8 million, putting it on course to score the best opening ever for a baseball drama with a projected weekend take of $20 million and solidifying the film’s awards standing. Taylor Lautner's Abduction, meanwhile, landed at No. 4.

Moneyball's Friday standing doesn't mean it will necessarily come in at No. 1 -- the weekend is proving to be one of the difficult to call in months.

PHOTOS: 'Moneyball' Premiere in Oakland

Disney’s 3D re-release of The Lion King continued to awe, grossing $6.1 million on Friday and potentially $20 million or more for the weekend, depending upon how Saturday plays out.

Dolphin Tale -- from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., the same team behind The Blind Side -- came in at No. 3 on Friday with an estimated $5.1 million.

STORY: Box Office Preview: Brad Pitt's 'Moneyball' Looks to Out-Run Taylor Lautner's 'Abduction'

The best news for Dolphin Tale: 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 sizeable boost on Saturday and catch up with the competition. (Blind Side also received the top grade).

Moneyball -- an early awards contender for Pitt’s performance as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane -- also pleased its audience, earning an A CinemaScore.  The biopic played evenly among women and men but skewed older, with 89 percent of the audience over the age of 25 and 58 percent over the age of 50.

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As it stands now, the best opening for a baseball drama was $16 million for Disney’s The Rookie.

The fate of the weekend’s two other films  -- thriller Abduction and Jason Statham-Robert De Niro action pic Killer Elite -- did solid business, but not spectacular.

PHOTOS: 'Abduction' Red Carpet Premiere

From Lionsgate and placing No. 4, Abduction grossed an estimated $3.8 million on Friday for a projected weekend gross of $11 million. Playing heavily to females, the pic drew a B- CinemaScore (it also has been roundly rejected by reviewers).

Killer Elite, the first title from acquisition and distribution company Open Road Films, grossed $3.5 million on Friday and received a B CinemaScore. The big question will be whether Killer Elite pulls ahead of Abduction.