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Box Office: ‘Den of Thieves’ Outshoots ’12 Strong’ on Thursday Night

Heist thriller “Den of Thieves” took in $950,000 on Thursday night, edging Afghanistan war drama “12 Strong” with $900,000.

STXfilms will open the R-rated “Den of Thieves,” starring Gerard Butler, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, in 2,342 locations on Friday with a projected opening in the $9 million range. That’s similar to the launch of Open Road’s crime drama “Sleepless,” which opened on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend last year with $9.8 million in its first four days, including $410,000 in Thursday night previews. Liam Neeson’s “The Commuter” opened a week ago with $700,000 in Thursday previews on its way to a $15.8 million Friday-Monday.

“Den of Thieves,” which was fully financed by Diamond Film, follows the intersecting lives of an elite unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles. Christian Gudegast is directing from his original screenplay, based on a story by Gudegast and Paul Scheuring.

“12 Strong” is expected to battle “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” for the top spot at the North American box office this weekend. “Jumanji” is likely to take in between $15 million to $20 million in its fifth frame, which will lift its total domestic haul to around $320 million.

12 Strong,” produced by Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer, has been tracking for an opening in the $14 million to $17 million range at 3,002 locations. Warner Bros. is handling distribution through its output deal with Alcon.

The war drama’s Thursday earnings are in the same range as “Hacksaw Ridge,” which took in $750,000 in previews on its way to a $15.2 million opening weekend, and Michael Bay’s “13 Hours,” which made $925,000 on Thursday night and $19.2 million in its debut weekend.

Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in “12 Strong” in a story based on Doug Stanton’s 2009 bestselling book “Horse Soldiers,” centered on CIA paramilitary operations officers and U.S. Special Forces sent to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Nicolai Fuglsig directed from a script by Ted Tally and Peter Craig.

Producers of “12 Strong” are Bruckheimer, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill. Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, William Fichtner, and Rob Riggle also star in the movie.

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” could battle “12 Strong” for the second slot with a projection around $14 million for its second weekend in wide release, following a $23.1 million MLK weekend for Fox. The journalism drama has topped $31 million domestically.

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