Box Office Preview: Brad Pitt No Match for 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2,' 'Skyfall'

Killing Them Softly Brad Pitt Gun - H 2012
The Weinstein Company

Killing Them Softly Brad Pitt Gun - H 2012

Pitt's indie crime drama "Killing Them Softly" and horror sequel "The Collector" open Friday at the North American box office.

Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, opening Friday, could mark Brad Pitt's lowest nationwide opening in more than a decade.

Box-office observers expect the modestly budgeted independent film to gross in the $8 million to $10 million range. The Weinstein Co. bought U.S. distribution rights from Inferno Entertainment, which financed the crime drama with Pitt's Plan B production company and Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures.

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Holdovers Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 and Skyfall are expected to lead the box office overall, with a crush of films duking it out for the remaining top spots, including Killing Them Softly, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is generally devoid of big studio releases, and this year is no exception.

After Killing Them Softly, the only other new release is horror pic The Collection, a sequel to 2009's The Collector. Both were independently financed, with The Collection distributed in North America by LD Entertainment. The movie is expected to open in the $4 million range.

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Killing Them Softly, based on the 1974 novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins, stars Pitt as professional enforcer Jackie Cogan, who is charged with investigating a robbery at a mob-protected poker game. Budgeted at $15 million, the film also stars Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini and Sam Shepard.

The movie made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May; its release subsequently was moved from September to November.

Pitt is a consistently strong box-office draw, and there's always a chance Killing Them Softly could overperform. Among his nationwide live-action releases, his lowest domestic openings in the past 18 years have been $11 million for Fight Club in 1999 and $10 million for Seven Years in Tibet in 1997.