Disney is certain to "Steel" the show at North American theaters this weekend with a $30 million opening that should knock out its closest contender by more than $15 million.
With the look and feel of a summer movie, the PG-13 sci-fi drama "Real Steel," starring Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo, is likely to attract family audiences and action fans alike with its story about a father and son who work together to turn a discarded boxing robot into a champion.
Finishing second in the box office balloting should be Sony's R-rated political drama "The Ides of March," with domestic returns in the low teens. The R-rated "Ides" stars George Clooney as a presidential candidate and Ryan Gosling as his hot-shot media consultant, and should garner solid support from a more sophisticated demographic.
Warner Bros.' "Dolphin Tale" in 3-D enjoyed a major comeback last weekend by leaping from third place to first in a surprising show of strength. This weekend, the PG-rated film should dip to about $9 million, but maintain momentum as a fall family favorite.
The baseball biopic "Moneyball" from Sony continued to show good stuff during the midweek game, earning around $1 million per day, and should slide into its third weekend with $7 million to $8 million on the scoreboard.
After opening in fifth place, Summit Entertainment's "50/50" enters its second weekend with momentum generated by solid word-of-mouth that made it the second-place movie during the mid-week box office contest. The R-rated dramatic comedy, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen as two friends coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis, should have a weekend recovery of about $6.5 million.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and provides box office analysis for The Associated Press.