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'Money Monster' starts strong, but there's no slowing 'Captain America' at the box office

'Money Monster' starts strong, but there's no slowing 'Captain America' at the box office
George Clooney stars as the host of a financial TV show in "Money Monster," directed by Jodie Foster. (TriStar Pictures)

Disney's "Captain America: Civil War" is ruling the box office in its second full weekend of release, but the Jodie Foster-directed "Money Monster" looks to put up solid numbers in its debut.

Starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, "Money Monster" is eyeing an opening between $14 million and $15 million after bringing in $5 million on Friday, according to studio estimates. The TriStar Pictures film launched in 3,104 theaters and had a budget of $27 million.

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Moviegoers have rated the film positively, as it's currently tracking a B-plus grade from the audience polling firm CinemaScore. Critics have been lukewarm. "Money Monster" has a tepid 57% rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and The Times' Kenneth Turan was particularly harsh in his critique.

"An attempt at combining a real-time thriller with a shot across the bow to a deceptive financial system, 'Money Monster' never achieves plausibility, settling instead for cliched situations and uninteresting characters masquerading as contemporary relevance," Turan wrote of the film, which stars Clooney as an entertainer-financial TV host who is taken hostage by an irate investor.

The film's projected $14-million-plus opening won't be enough to dethrone Disney from the top of the box office tally. "Captain America: Civil War," after scoring the fifth highest domestic opening in industry history last week, will once again win the weekend.

Heading into Friday, the film had already grossed more than $223 million and was expected to tally at least another $70 million this weekend. The film on Friday brought in more than $19 million.

Disney's "The Jungle Book" collected $4.2 million on Friday, but many expect it to finish in second place ahead of "Money Monster." Wherever it falls, the film is on track to top $300 million this weekend.

"The Darkness," another newcomer this week, took in $2.1 million on Friday. The Blumhouse Productions thriller starring Kevin Bacon was on track for an opening in the $5-million range.

Follow me on Twitter: @toddmartens

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