"Focus" has its sights set on pushing "Fifty Shades of Grey" out of the top spot at the box office.
The R-rated crime comedy, which cost about $50 million to make, could debut with as much as $22 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada, according to projections.
Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa -- the pair behind the smart 2011 rom-com "Crazy, Stupid Love" -- "Focus" follows crafty con man Nicky (Smith), who trains and falls for Jess (Robbie). After a long breakup, they reunite in Buenos Aires, but both are there to con the same billionaire.
If it does well, "Focus" could be a much-needed hit for Smith.
His last outing, Sony's 2013 $135-million sci-fi spectacle "After Earth" (Smith's son Jaden co-starred), was a critical and commercial flop, at least domestically. It did much better internationally.
Still, "Focus" could be the lowest opening for a Smith vehicle since 2008's "Seven Pounds." The weepy drama launched with $16 million.
"Fifty Shades of Grey," which was No. 1 last weekend but saw a more than 70% decrease in ticket sales in its second week, continues to lose its grip on moviegoers and pulled in an estimated $3.5 million on Friday.
The weekend's other big newcomer, "The Lazarus Effect," also nipped at Christian Grey's Friday haul, taking in an estimated $3.8 million.
Co-produced by Bloomhouse ("Purge") and Mosaic, the low-budget horror flim follows a group of researchers led by Frank (Mark Duplass) and fiancee Zoe (Olivia Wilde), who discover how to bring the dead back to life.
The film, which Relativity Studios acquired for $3.3 million, is expected to bring in around $10 million, according to industry projections.