Box office preview: 'Jackass 3D' and 'Red' compete for top slot this weekend |

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Box office preview: 'Jackass 3D' and 'Red' compete for top slot this weekend

jackass-3dLadies and Gentlemen, we may actually have a race on our hands this weekend at the movies, now that the once-ignored old-fogey actioner Red is gaining momentum on Jackass 3D when it comes to tracking. Men over 30 are still the audience most anticipating Red – which stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich – but if Summit Entertainment can lure the ladies, the film could finish first. On the opposite spectrum, Jackass is appealing to the young male moviegoer, as expected. But there’s the fact that Johnny Knoxville’s last endeavor, Jackass Number Two, earned $29 million back in 2006 – that gross coupled with the extra charge for 3-D on this go-around still makes the gross-out stunt comedy a formidable opponent. Read on for my predictions.

1. Jackass 3D: $30 million

It would probably be a big disappointment if Paramount couldn’t exceed its opening weekend gross earned by Jackass Number Two four years ago. What with all the ridiculous promotion and 3-D extras, it seems like a $30 million opening is in the bag. Yet, with the box office acting so strange lately, and no film opening in the $30 million range since The Expendables bowed in mid-August, anything is possible.

2. Red: $25 million

Perhaps this is too generous an opening number. I know the studio would be happy with $20 million. But it’s rather encouraging to see some uptick in tracking data heading into this weekend. I’m sure the Paramount folks thought they were in the clear for the first slot this frame. But with a wide swath of the movie-going public showing interest in this group of retired CIA officials, a surprise showing could be in Red’s future.

3. The Social Network: $10 million

The David Fincher-directed drama has already earned close to $51 million at the box office – with room to grow. Last weekend saw the Facebook drama fall a scant 31 percent, an encouraging sign for both its box office and its awards potential. I’d look for a steeper drop this frame, but perhaps it won’t fall more than 35 percent, considering how strong word-of-mouth is on this must-see movie.

4. Secretariat: $7.5 million

It may not have had much of an opening, but this feel-good horse racing flick could actually hold in well. Audiences love the movie, families can go together to see it, and word-of-mouth could have an impact this frame. If the film falls 40 percent, it would hold in nicely. This definitely won’t be Disney’s version of The Blind Side, as its marketers predicted, but a strong hold could keep it in theaters a bit longer.

5. Life As We Know It: $7 million

It’s going to be a tight race between this Katherine Heigl-starrer and Secretariat, though I’d give Secretariat the edge in its sophomore session. Expect a 50 percent fall on Life, as few men will be caught dead in the theater.

Opening limited this frame is the right-wing documentary I Want Your Money, while Warner Bros. will bow Clint Eastwood’s supernatural drama Hereafter in six theaters ahead of its wide release next weekend. Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight will open its Oscar bait, the Hilary Swank-starrer Conviction, in 11 theaters this weekend.

UPDATE: Jackass 3D earns $20 million on Friday; RED earns $7M