"Pain & Gain," Michael Bay's tale of body builders gone bad, muscled its way to the top spot at the box office with $7.5 million Friday. That puts Paramount's action film on pace for a weekend of around $20 million, which looks like enough to hold off last week's No. 1 film, "Oblivion."
Meanwhile Lionsgate's star-packed comedy "The Big Wedding" was set to fizzle, taking in just $2.5 million on Friday.
Universal's Tom Cruise sci-fi epic brought in $5.1 million Friday and should wind up with a three-day total of around $17 million in its second week.
The three day total for "Pain & Gain," which stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, is under analysts' projections but about what the studio said it expected. But the weak "C+" CinemaScore it received from first-night audiences isn't going to help word of mouth on Saturday and Sunday.
With a $26 million budget, Paramount's "Pain & Gain" is Bay's least expensive movie since his similarly Miami-based "Bad Boys" in 1995. The studio mounted a full-sized marketing campaign around the film from the director of the three "Transformer" movies, which have taken in more than $2.6 billion for Paramount and DreamWorks.
The overall weekend was running about 20 percent behind last year, and it looks like some moviegoers are waiting for next week, when "Iron Man 3" begins the rush of summer movies.
This week's only other wide opener, Lionsgate's "The Big Wedding," is off to a weak starts and is set to take in roughly $7 million over the weekend, below expectations that were soft to begin with. Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Topher Grace and Susan Sarandon star in the R-rated farce, directed by Justin Zackman ("The Bucket List").
It received a "C+" CinemaScore, too.
"Big Wedding" is running fourth behind the Legendary Pictures-Warner Bros. Jackie Robinson biopic "42," which took in $2.9 million Friday and is heading for home with a $10 million third week in sight.
DreamWorks Animation's "The Croods" was fifth with $1.4 million Friday and is on course for a $6 million sixth week for distributor Fox. Its overall domestic total is north of $160 million now.
The Weinstein Company's horror spoof "Scary Movie 5" was sixth, with a $1.1 million Friday that translates to a $3.3 million third weekend.
Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," FilmDistrict's "Olympus Has Fallen," Focus Features' "Place Beyond the Pines" and Universal's "Jurassic Park" 3D re-release round out the top ten after Friday.