If this was a horse race … the jockeys might have fallen asleep.
No film managed to exceed its lukewarm expectations at the domestic box office Friday, with Warner chick flick "Life as We Know It" grossing $5.3 million, narrowly beating Sony incumbent champ "The Social Network," which took $4.9 million.
Finishing third, Disney sports movie "Secretariat" also was on the low side of its pre-release tracking, grossing $4.1 million Friday, putting it on pace for a $14 million weekend.
With the overall box office down 14 percent from the same weekend last year, none of these films is expected to gross much more than $15 million for the entire weekend.
Here's how the top 10 shaped up. Full report continues below chart:
Even horror meister Wes Craven's first 3D movie — and first film based on an original concept in 16 years — couldn't find traction, with the Relativity/Rogue-produced, Universal-distributed "My Soul to Take" taking in an estimated $2.7 million Friday.
That's the low side of pre-release estimates, with the $25 million film on pace to gross about $7 million this weekend in the U.S. Universal released the R-rated movie into 2,572 U.S. locations, with Canada's Alliance handling the Great White North.
One other film opening wide, or at least semi-wide at 742 locations, Focus youth drama "It's Kind of a Funny Story" grossed an estimated $679,000 Friday.
But the big story was the three-way race between "Secretariat," "Life as We Know It" and "The Social Network," for which studio backers had hoped the winner would yield a weekend tally somewhere in the more-impressive $18 million range.
Playing in 2,771 theaters in the U.S. and Canada and sporting impeccable reviews, the David Fincher-directed "Social Network" dropped under 40 percent on its second Friday, and should exceed the $40 million mark on Saturday. The film costs Sony under $40 million to produce.
Warner's PG-13-rated "Life as We Know It," meanwhile, opened in 3,150 theaters across North America, starring Katherine Heigl …again as a young woman suddenly shackled with the burdens of motherhood.
The film, which co-stars Josh Duhamel, cost producers Village Road Show and Gold Circle Films $38 million to produce. Warner came in expecting an opening gross of somewhere between $15 million-$18 million.
Disney's "Secretariat" stars John Malkovich and Diane Lane, not to mention a large horse playing the eponymous 1973 Triple Crown winner.
Opening in 3,072 locations, the PG-rated film cost $35 million to make.
For comparison, Universal's more ambitious "Seabiscuit" — another Triple Crown-winner biopic — started out to $20.9 million in July 2003.