‘Gangster Squad’ Takes $650K in Midnight Showings, Battle With ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Awaits

"Gangster Squad" should make about $20 million this weekend

Warner Bros.’ “Gangster Squad” grossed $650,000 in midnight showings Thursday night, a strong start to what should be a weekend-long fight for the box-office crown.

Ruben Fleischer’s tale of cops and organized crime in mid-20th century Los Angeles will duke it out with Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” the Oscar contender that expands to almost 3,000 screens this weekend.

Box office experts projected “Zero Dark Thirty” would eke out the win before the weekend began, though it remains a close race with both movies looking at openings of about $20 million.

“Gangster Squad,” which stars Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn, has a breezy action feel, and runs under two hours. Despite a strong cast, reviewers have not responded warmly to the film, which charts at 43 percent on Metacritic and 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Academy rewarded “Zero Dark Thirty” with five Oscar nominations on Thursday buffeting its pursuit of viewers despite its two hour and 37 minute length.

Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.