Friday B.O.: ‘Expendables 2’ just short of original

Actioner up to expectations; high teens for 'Sparkle,' 'Paranorman'

In an otherwise flabby weekend at the domestic box office, “The Expendables 2” is tracking right along expectations for a debut north of $30 million, giving Lionsgate all-star actioner enough firepower to knock off Universal’s “The Bourne Legacy” for the top spot.

Weekend’s other new releases, Tri-Star tuner “Sparkle” and Laika’s spooky family toon “ParaNorman” are neck-and-neck with roughly $15 million, according to early Friday returns.

While “The Expendables” plays in a traditionally slower August frame, the R-rated muscle movie is slightly trailing the 2010 opening of “The Expendables,” which earned $34 million-plus opening weekend.

“It may shrink a tad more,” one rival analyst says, “but it’s about what we expected.”

Lionsgate acquired North American and U.K. rights to the sequel for $35 million, with Millennium Films co-producing.

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U’s “Bourne,” meanwhile, should cross the finish in second place with a 52% drop week-to-week for a total of $17-19 million.

The Jeremy Renner-actioner earned $14 million mid-week after grossing $38 mil during its opening frame.

“Sparkle,” which is playing relatively well with older women, marks the final theatrical performance of the late Whitney Houston.