'Expendables 2' Opening Strong, but How Strong?

Testosterone-fueled The Expendables 2 -- featuring a who's who of action stars -- might not be able to match the $34.8 million debut of the first film, but it's still widely expected to win the weekend crown and bump The Bourne Legacy from the top spot.

By early Friday evening, Expendables 2 was trailing the firstExpendables, which opened on the same weekend in 2010 and quickly transformed into a sleeper hit after grossing $13.3 million on its first Friday.

Estimates show Expendables 2 grossing in the $11 million range on Friday for a weekend debut in the $28 million to $29 million range. The film could catch up as the night and weekend progress.
From Lionsgate and Millennium Films, Expendables 2 has several noteworthy additions to its cast, including Chuck NorrisLiam Hemsworth and Jean-Claude Van Damme. And whileArnold Schwarzenegger made a cameo in the first film, he's featured far more in the sequel.
The rest of the cast includes Sylvester StalloneJason Statham, Bruce WillisJet LiDolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews.
Lionsgate acquired North American and U.K. rights toExpendables 2 for $35 million.
Among the weekend's other new films, Focus Features' 3D stop-motion pic ParaNorman was off to a pleasing start, eyeing a possible $15 million to $17 million weekend. The family film -- produced by Focus and Laika, the team behind Coraline -- is opening in 3,429 locations, the widest bow ever for Focus.
ParaNorman, about a boy who must stop the destruction of his hometown by a witch's spell, is voiced by Casey AffleckTempestt BledsoeJeff GarlinJohn Goodman, Anna Kendrick andLeslie MannCoraline, released in February 2009, opened to $16.8 million on its way to grossing north of $124 million worldwide.
New musical drama Sparkle -- Whitney Houston's final movie -- also was performing nicely and could gross between $13 and $15 million for the weekend.
From TriStar, the remake of the 1976 film stars American Idol winner Jordin SparksDerek Luke,Mike EppsCee Lo GreenCameron Ejogo and Tika Sumpter and is about three sisters who form a singing group in Detroit during the Motown era. Houston plays their mother.
Disney's whimsical drama The Odd Life of Timothy Green, opening Wednesday, is on course to gross in the $8 million to $9 million range for the weekend for a five-day debut between $12 million and $13.8 million. Starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, the film received an A- CinemaScore.