Box Office: 'No Good Deed' Races Past 'Dolphin Tale 2' With $8.8 Million Friday

Sony Pictures
"No Good Deed"

Elsewhere, "Guardians of the Galaxy" becomes the first movie of the year to hit $300 million in North America

Idris Elba's thriller No Good Deed topped the Friday box office with $8.8 million from 2,175 theaters to easily swim past family offering Dolphin Tale 2 and put the Screen Gems title on course to win the weekend with $24 million or more.

Dolphin Tale 2, from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., placed No. 2 with $4.3 million from more than 3,600 locations. The movie is doing somewhat less business than expected and is now projected to earn between $16 million and $17 million for the weekend despite earning a glowing A CinemaScore (it had hoped to hit $20 million). The sequel opens three years after Dolphin Tale launched to $19.2 million on its way to earning $95.4 million worldwide.

The other big headline was Marvel Studio and Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy, which hit the $300 million mark domestically on Friday, becoming the first film of 2014 so far to achieve that milestone. Globally, the tentpole will cross $600 million sometime over the weekend.

Heading into the weekend, tracking services were divided as to No Good Deed's potential, although more bullish observers had it clearing $20 million. The movie, starring Elba opposite Taraji P. Henson, is benefiting from being the only new title in the market targeting black audiences; it cost a modest $13 million to make (that doesn't include marketing costs). No Good Deed earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Still, the slide at the North American box office continues. Revenue will once again be down from a year ago,  when Insidious: Chapter 2 opened to $40.3 million and The Family to $14 million. Last weekend, revenue topped out at $64.7 million, the worst showing since just after 9/11, while year-to-date revenue is down 5.6 percent.

Will Packer, the force behind the Think Like a Man series, Ride Along and Obsessed, produced No Good Deed along with Lee Clay. Elba also starred in Obsessed, which debuted to $28.8 million, while Henson is a lead in the Think Like a Man franchise.

Directed by Sam Miller (Luther), No Good Deed stars Henson as a district attorney turned stay-at-home mom living an ideal life in the suburbs until a charming convict (Elba) shows up at her door. Kate del Castillo and Henry Simmons co-star.

Dolphin Tale cost roughly $36 million to produce. Both the original and the sequel center around Winter, the real-life dolphin rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, and her two young human friends, played by Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (the actual Winter stars in both films).

This time out, the trio befriend a baby dolphin, Hope. The film also tells the story of Mandy, a rehabilitated dolphin released back into the wild. Charles Martin Smith returned to direct Dolphin Tale 2, reuniting with stars Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson. Newcomers include Lee Karlinsky, Julia Jordan and surfer Bethany Hamilton, playing herself.

The specialty box office sees several high-profile openings, including Fox Searchlight and Chernin Entertainment's The Drop, which marks the final film from the late James Gandolfini, The Weinstein Co.'s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Roadside Attractions' The Skeleton Twins.

Directed by Michael R. Roskam, The Drop made its world premiere last weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. The crime drama, opening in 809 theaters, stars Gandolfini opposite Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.

The Drop is projected to open for the weekend at No. 6 with an estimated $4.1 million.

Filmmaker Ned Benson's The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, debuting in only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, culls from two different films (known as The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him). The ambitious undertaking, which tells the story of a relationship from both sides, stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy

Craig Johnson's The Skeleton Twins, acquired at of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year by Roadside, stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as twins who cheat death on the same day. Luke Wilson also stars in the movie, which opens in select top markets.

Sept. 13, 7:45 a.m. Updated with official Friday numbers.