Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly."

Melinda Sue Gordon, Cogan's Productions

'Killing Them Softly' might die at box office

  • Article by: AMY KAUFMAN
  • Los Angeles Times
  • November 30, 2012 - 11:10 AM

Brad Pitt's latest movie, "Killing Them Softly," is unlikely to make a killing at the box office this weekend.

Rather, the violent dark comedy will premiere softly with about $10 million domestically, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The film is expected to get slaughtered by a handful of pictures that have been in theaters for weeks.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Down -- Part 2" could be the No. 1 film for the third consecutive weekend. The vampire flick has grossed $230 million to date and is expected to take in an additional $15 million to $20 million this weekend.

The latest James Bond movie, "Skyfall," will be fighting "Twilight" for the top spot, while DreamWorks Animation's 3-D picture "Rise of the Guardians" could end up in third place after a disappointing opening last weekend.

The only other new entry this weekend is the horror film "The Collection," which is expected to fare even worse than Pitt's film. The movie, which has no recognizable stars, is projected to start off with about $5 million.

"Killing Them Softly" is the latest passion project for Pitt, who is teaming with Australian director Andrew Dominik for the second time. They first worked together on the 2007 film "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," which received positive reviews but tanked at the box office with only $3.9 million.

The pair's latest film has received slightly better reviews. On Thursday, it had an 84 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In the crime picture, Pitt plays a hit man who is looking into a heist that occurred during a poker game. After premiering to mixed response at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the movie was pushed off its original September release date.

The movie is being financed primarily by Megan Ellison's production company Annapurna Pictures for $15 million and distributed by the Weinstein Co.

Even though Pitt is a proven box-office draw, his latest film may attract the smallest number of moviegoers since his last collaboration with Dominik five years ago. The star's artsy independent movie "The Tree of Life," directed by Terrence Malick, did solid business at the box office last year, grossing $54 million worldwide.

"The Collection" is a sequel to the 2009 movie "The Collector," which bagged only $7.7 million in North America.

The new film, which has received middling reviews, centers on a young woman who is kidnapped by a killer called "The Collector," who takes all his victims to an empty hotel rigged with a trap-filled maze.

The movie was directed by Marcus Dunstan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Patrick Melton. The two have co-written a number of scary flicks, including four installments in the "Saw" franchise.

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