DreamWorks pic projected to earn $8.5 to $9 million Friday

Early Friday box office returns indicate that Shawn Levy’s “Real Steel” will hit at least $25 million this weekend, making it the first new wide-release to win the domestic B.O. in a month.

Pic, budgeted at north of $110 million, is projected to earn between $9 and $11 million for Friday, making B.O. observers peg the film in the mid to high $20 million range. Some B.O. watchers say that the pic is likely to benefit from word of mouth buzz and family auds on Saturday.

Second place will likely go to George Clooney’s “Ides of March,” which B.O. watchers say will earn between $3.5 and $4 million Friday, putting it on pace to gross around $11 million for the weekend.

Meanwhile “Dolphin Tale,” which won last weekend in its sophomore sesh, is once again holding over well, with a projected take of at least $10 million for its 3rd frame — a 29% drop from last weekend.

With the 3D re-release of “The Lion King” gobbling up admissions since its Sept. 16 bow, the last original pic to take first place was “Contagion,” which opened Sept. 9.

Among other holdovers, “50/50″ is projected to earn a $4.5 million to $5.5 million for in its second week, while “Courageous” is expected to drop about 50% from last weekend and earn near $4.5 million.

B.O. observers expect “Dream House” and “What’s Your Number” to drop about 50% to 55% for the weekend, projecting $4 million and $2.5 million cumes, respectively.

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