Box Office Report: 'Footloose' Off to Strong Start, Could Reach $20 Mil for Weekend

K.C. Bailey/Paramount Pictures.

Paramount's remake of the 1984 classic film stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough; Universal's horror prequel "The Thing" off to solid start, while Steve Martin-Jack Black-Owen Wilson adult comedy "The Big Year" stumbles.

Footloose remake is doing better than expected at the domestic box office, with early projections putting the movie’s opening weekend gross in the $18 million to $20 million range.

PHOTOS: Julianne Hough and Her Co-Stars Fete 'Footloose'

That should be good enough to take the No. 1 spot away from holdover Real Steel, but the fate of the two films will depend upon Friday night and Saturday business. Heading into the weekend, pre-release projections put Footloose at $15 million to $18 million.

Reel Steel, from director Shawn Levy and starring Hugh Jackman, opened last weekend to $27.3 million and has grossed $35.4 million through Thursday.

From director Craig Brewer, Footloose stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough. The pic cost $24 million to produce, and is expected to draw most of its strength from teenage girls and women in their 30s and 40s who remember the original 1994 Footloose.

VIDEO: Blake Shelton's 'Footloose' Music Video Premieres

Elsewhere at the box office, Universal’s early Halloween horror offering The Thing is on course to gross in the low teens for the weekend, in line with pre-release expectations.

The Thing, a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1972 movie of the same name, stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton

Horror films often draw teenage girls, but since The Thing is rated R, it is tracking best among males. Box office observers expect the movie to open in the $11 million to $13 million range.

VIDEO: 'The Thing' Trailer Hits With Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Universal is distributing The Thing overseas for Morgan Creek, which owned the international rights. The pic opens this weekend in Australia, France, Hong Kong and Taiwan this weekend.

The weekend’s third new film, Fox 2000’s adult comedy The Big Year, is off to a sluggish start, as expected. Directed by David Frankel, the movie stars Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

Produced for $28 million, The Big Year may not reach $5 million for the weekend. The movie is based on Howard Franklin’s nonfiction book about a 12-month contest to identify the most species of birds in North America.