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Box Office: ‘Riddick’ Demotes ‘Butler’ With Projected $18 Million

Universal’s “Riddick” is set to unseat “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” this weekend with about $18 million in three days.

The actioner threequel comes nine years after predecessor “The Chronicles of Riddick” opened to a slightly stronger $24.3 million and went on to a worldwide lifetime cume of $115.8 million against its estimated $150 million budget.

Produced at a more modest $38 million, this year’s “Riddick” should be an easy win for Universal and may even kick-start the franchise from its dormancy.

Friday, “Riddick” took $7.3 million to Weinstein Co.’s “Butler’s” $2.4 million, which reps an OK 35% Friday-to-Friday drop for the biopic that has cumed $85.4 domestically.

“Riddick” opened day-and-date in 22 overseas markets. The int’l box office landscape has broadened considerably since “Chronicles” earned $58 million abroad in 2004, but depending on retained familiarity with the franchise among overseas auds, that doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger int’l gross.

On a much smaller scale, Weinstein Co. unspooled two specialty releases this frame: docu “Salinger,” which earned $29,000 on four screens Friday, and French comedy “Populaire,” which grossed $3,800 on three.

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