Frame's newcomers beaten back by trio of holdovers

For the second week in a row, Sony’s “Moneyball” took Friday’s domestic box office with $3.9 million.

However, despite optimistic projections and a solid opening night, “Moneyball” did not win last frame, taking second to holdover and re-release “The Lion King.” Given muted interest for this weekend’s newcomers, the fight for the top spot could get heated between these two and other family-skewing holdover, Warner Bros.’ “Dolphin Tale.”

Down 43%, “Moneyball” has cumed $29.8 million to date, and is looking to add another $15 million or so to that tally through Sunday.

In a minor upset, “Dolphin Tale” took second last night with $3.5 million. Mid-day Friday estimates has Disney’s “Lion King” in the lead, but the Mouse’s 3D retrofit fell to third with $3.3 million.

In fourth, Sony’s faith-based drama “Courageous” took $3.1 million Friday night. Budgeted at only $2 million, “Courageous” could take in as much as $10 million or $11 million this weekend depending on word-of-mouth and interest in Christian communities through Sunday. Pic scored a rare A+ Cinemascore across all demos.

Universal’s “Dream House” and Summit’s “50/50″ tied at the bottom of the top five last night, both grossing a reported $2.9 million. Though the two also tracked closely going into the weekend, “Dream House” has an edge on Summit’s cancer dramedy in the femme demo, so it will likely pull ahead as the weekend progresses.

Also opening wide this weekend, Fox’s “What’s Your Number?” grossed $2.1 million last night. Limited interest for the film will likely keep it from breaking $10 million this frame, though its strongest demo is women over 25, so it may show off its legs with mid-week sales.

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