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‘Captain’ muscles way to top of Friday B.O.

Par's superhero pic bests 'Potter' in U.S.

Paramount’s “Captain America” won the day Friday, scoring $25.75 million from 3,715 domestic locations.

The comic-inspired actioner kick-started the weekend with $4 million in midnight sales Thursday night, outdoing the midnight hauls of both “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class.”

Meanwhile, Warner Bros’ domestic and worldwide record-setter “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” fell to second with $14.63 million from 4,375 locations. Going into the weekend, B.O. observers expected “Potter” to give “Captain America” a run for its money assuming it dropped around 60% in its soph frame, but the film is already 84% behind its opening weekend.

That is not to say that the tides can’t turn — even though “Potter” only received 43% of last weekend’s gross in 3D, it hasn’t lost a single one of its 3D screens and insiders are predicting a lot of repeat business in the format. Of “Captain America’s” domestic runs, about 68% of theaters are in 3D, which is still 500 screens fewer than “Potter.” Further, Par’s actioner isn’t playing in Imax like WB’s wizard is.

Par pegged “Captain America” in the $55 million to $60 million range this weekend, consistent with earlier summer superhero pics, but the film could do even better than that. It is very slightly outpacing fellow Par hero “Thor,” which made $65.7 million in its opening frame. If “Harry Potter” behaves as it did last week down 84%, it’ll walk away with about $27 million through Sunday, but B.O. pundits expect it to land closer to $50 million.

Sony’s “Friends With Benefits” opened to $6.8 million from 2,926 locations last night. So far, it’s the lowest opening night for this summer’s string of R-rated laffers, which could indicate genre fatigue for young adults Stateside. Still, pic should see positive mid-week figures and will likely show off its legs in coming weeks, consistent with recent comparable releases.

One such comparable release, Warner Bros’ “Horrible Bosses,” earned $3.685 million from 3,104 locations yesterday, eclipsing Par’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which landed fifth on Friday with $3.515 million from 3,375 locations. Down only 33% from last Friday, “Bosses” is holding ground nicely. Pic has cumed $74.37 million domestically while “Transformers” has cumed $317 million so far.

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