Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson are pushing the U.S. box office out of its post-summer doldrums, with early Friday estimates for Sony’s “No Good Deed” pointing to an opening weekend that could go as high as $25 million.

Warner Bros.’ family sequel “Dolphin Tale 2” looked lively with Friday forecasts indicating a $20 million launch frame — in line with recent tracking.

“No Good Deed,” with Elba portraying an escaped convict, was dominating business on Friday with an estimated $9 million at 2,171 locations —  even though Sony eschewed late Thursday screenings in order to keep a key plot twist under wraps, meaning reviews didn’t hit until Friday. That would put “Deed” on track to finish the weekend in the low to mid-20s.

SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons ‘No Good Deed’ Could Be a Late-Summer Sleeper

Given its modest $13 million production cost, “Deed” already appears to be a profitable performer for the studio.

Sony’s promo campaign through its Screen Gems arm, focusing on the fan appeal of Elba and Henson, appeared to be succeeding as “No Good Deed” eclipsed recent forecasts. The stars have been touting the film on Twitter.

Alcon Entertainment’s “Dolphin Tale 2” was leading the rest of the pack Friday as it headed toward a $5.5 million opening day at 3,656 locations. That number puts the family-friendly sequel in line for an opening weekend total in the same vicinity as the 2011 original — which opened respectably with $19.2 million, then held impressively for a U.S. cume of $72.3 million.

Fox’s Searchlight’s limited launch of crime thriller “The Drop” at 809 sites appeared headed for a decent fourth-place finish with $1.9 million on Friday. That would leave the film, based on a Dennis Lehane novel and starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini, with a $6.7 million opening weekend.

Chernin Entertainment produced “The Drop,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

After saving the summer box office from total disaster and winning four weekends, Disney-Marvel’s sturdy “Guardians of the Galaxy” continued to lord over the holdovers. “Guardians” took in an estimated $2 million at 3,104 sites on Friday, placing the tentpole in line to finish the frame at around $7.3 million in third place.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” — already the top 2014 grosser — is in line to cross the $300 million milestone on Saturday to become the 48th title to do so. On the foreign front, “Guardians” will also pass the $300 million mark with a Japanese launch.

“Guardians” has not yet opened in the booming Chinese market, where it’s set to launch on Oct. 10.

Paramount’s sixth weekend of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” led the rest of the pack with $1.3 million on Friday, putting the fighting terrapins on track for a $5 million-plus weekend. “TMNT” will top the $180 million mark in cumulative gross by Sunday.