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Chloe Grace Moretz’ ‘Carrie’ a Wildcard as ‘Gravity’ Goes for Box-Office 3-Peat

Two other wide openers — Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s ”Escape Plan“ and WikiLeaks tale ”The Fifth Estate“ — will struggle

The horror remake “Carrie” will do its best to scare “Gravity” away from its third consecutive box office triumph this weekend, but it’s not going to be easy.

Warner Bros.’ Sandra Bullock-George Clooney 3D space epic has been defying conventional wisdom and breaking records since its debut earlier this month. Few expect it to match last week’s historic second-week hold, but even if it drops a closer-to-normal 40 percent from last weekend, it will come in at around $25 million, and most analysts see it approaching $30 million.

That should be enough to top MGM and Screen Gems’ “Carrie,” an updated version of the classic 1976 chiller. Distributor Sony thinks it will come in between $18 million and $20 million for the three days, but analysts and rivals are looking for between $20 million and $25 million.

Several horror films have broken out this year, and fans of the genre are notoriously tough to track, so the Chloe Grace Moretz thriller, based on Stephen King’s first novel, could pull an upset. Online ticket broker Fandango reported late Wednesday that “Gravity” was selling slightly better than “Carrie” through the week.

Also read: Behind ‘Gravity’s’ Historic Box Office Hold: 3D, Word-of-Mouth and Sandra Bullock

“Captain Phillips,” like “Gravity” a mature-skewing Oscar hopeful with terrific reviews from fans and high grades from audiences, is the best bet for third and the Tom Hanks piracy thriller is looking at an $18 million second week, say the analysts. That would be fine with Sony execs, given the crowded weekend.

Also rolling out are two other wide openers – the Sly Stallone-Arnold Schwarzenegger prison break film “Escape Plan” and the WikiLeaks-inspired drama “The Fifth Estate” – and a couple of prestige films with awards aspirations, “12 Years a Slave” and “All Is Lost.”

Summit Entertainment’s “Escape Plan” will struggle to hit $10 million, analysts say, and Disney’s “The Fifth Estate” is expected to manage just half that.

Also read: Movie Titles Can Matter at the Box Office – But How Much?

“12 Years a Slave” and the Robert Redford sea saga “All Is Lost” debut in limited release. They won’t crack the top 10 but could steal some headlines – and older moviegoers. Fox Searchlight has Steve McQueen’s brutally powerful slavery drama on 18 screens, while Roadside Attractions has “All Is Lost” in three New York and three L.A. theaters.

“Carrie,” directed by Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”), will be in more than 3,000 theaters. It was made for less than $30 million, so it should have no trouble reaching profitability.

Its R-rating could limit its grosses, but young people — and young women in particular — will be key.

“This could be a date-night movie for a lot of college kids, and if they turn out in force, it could very well break out,” Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap.

King’s tale of a teen girl unleashing telekinetic terror on a small town is weak on Twitter, according to BoxOffice.com, but its Facebook numbers compare favorably with those of “Evil Dead,” which opened to $25 million in April for Sony.

THE TOMB“Escape Plan,” which teams Stallone and Schwarzenegger, would have been box-office dynamite a decade or two ago, but the aging action icons have lost considerable luster.

Also read: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone Duke It Out in New ‘Escape Plan’ Clip (Video)

Stallone’s movies have brought in $2.9 billion at the worldwide box office since he stepped into the ring for “Rocky” back in 1976 and Schwarzenegger’s have totaled $3.8 billion since he appeared in “Stay Hungry” that same year. But Arnold’s most recent outing “The Last Stand” opened to a dismal $6.2 million in January, and Sly’s “Bullet to the Head” did even worse, debuting to $4.5 million in February.

The success of Stallone’s “Expendables” franchise is what keeps them trying. The first two bad-ass geezer films – the original in 2010, the second last year — have brought in more than $575 million globally for Summit, which has scheduled the third installment for next August.

The R-rated movie will be in roughly 2,750 theaters.

fifth.estate“The Fifth Estate,” co-financed and produced by Participant Media and Disney/DreamWorks, was at one point viewed as an Oscar contender.

The tale of WikiLeaks secrets stealer Julian Assange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and directed by Bill Condon, received a lukewarm reception from critics and fans at the Toronto Film Festival last month, however, and has struggled to regain momentum since.

Also read: Julian Assange to the Hollywood Foreign Press: “The Fifth Estate’ Is Going to Fail’ (Exclusive)

It has a tepid 43 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and its social media signs of life are flickering. It’s showing less than half the Facebook and Twitter activity of “Jobs,” the biopic on the Apple founder that opened to $6 million in August.

It’s also rated R and will be in about 1,700 theaters.