Box Office Report: 'Pain & Gain' Tops Friday, Eyeing $20.5 Million Weekend

Pain and Gain Trailer - H 2012

Directed by Michael Bay, the pic stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson; star-studded comedy "The Big Wedding" falls flat, projecting soft $8 million weekend.

Paramount's Pain & Gain took in $7.5 million on Friday, putting the Michael Bay pic on course for a $20.5 million opening, good enough for a No. 1 finish at the North American box office.

Box office observers, however, will be watching to see if an overall C+ CinemaScore hurts the movie, which headlines Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson (those under the age of 35 gave the pic a B).

VIDEO: 'Pain & Gain': Making Comedy Out of Tragedy

Pain & Gain, based on a true story, is a marked departure for Bay in both storyline and scope. The dark action comedy cost a modest $26 million to produce, according to Paramount (at CinemaCon last week, Bay called the film his "small" movie).

The film also stars Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson and Bar Paly. The screenplay was written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the Miami New Times article of the same name by Pete Collins. The film is produced by Donald De Line, Bay and Ian Bryce.

The story follows a trio of bodybuilders (Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie) who get caught up in an extortion ring and kidnapping scheme that goes awry.

The weekend's other new wide entry is R-rated comedy The Big Wedding, from Lionsgate and Avi Lerner's Millennium. The movie stars Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams.

Despite its star-studded cast, Big Wedding placed No. 4 with a sobering $2.6 million on Friday for a disappointing $8 million weekend. Like Pain & Gain, the film only earned a C+ CinemaScore.

VIDEO: 'Pain & Gain' Trailer: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson Favor Fast Cars and Tasers

Lionsgate heavily targeted females over the age of 25 in promoting Big Wedding, which follows the travails of a modern family trying to endure a weekend wedding celebration. It cost just north of $30 million to produce and was directed by Justin Zackham.

Universal's Oblivion, which opened to a better-than-expected $37.1 million last weekend, came in No. 2 on Friday with $5.2 million. The Tom Cruise starrer is anticipating a $16.8 million weekend, pushing its domestic cume to $64 million.

Below, watch Director Michael Bay and the Pain & Gain cast share with THR about making the based on a true story film: