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October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Another World War II movie takes off for box-office glory this weekend as Sony’s Fury, starring Brad Pitt, makes an expected No. 1 debut. Tracking surveys and Fandango pre-sales figures suggest that the film, directed by David Ayer and also featuring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal, will gross around $30-35 million. That would easily outdo David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which had held on to the top box-office position for the previous two weekends. It’s supposed to slip to No. 2 with around $20 million. However, analysts say that it could face a tough challenge for the runner-up spot from the animated The Book of Life. The film was directed and co-written by Jorge Gutierrez, produced by Guillermo del Toro, and features the voices of several prominent Latino actors, including Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Hector Elizondo, Cheech Marin and singer Plácido Domingo, as well as Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, and Ice Cube. It’s expected to attract a huge crowd of Hispanic moviegoers. Tracking studies, however, are notoriously inept at predicting their movie choices, and some pundits believe the movie could exceed the $15-20 million in ticket sales that its distributor, 20th Century Fox, thinks it will earn. Another Nicholas Sparks tearjerker, The Best of Me, also arrives this weekend, but it has neither sparked bullish presales nor positive reviews. It’s expected to tank with less than $15 million. But all eyes may be focused on the limited roll-out of Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, which opens in two theaters in New York and two in Los Angeles. The film generated much high praise at film festivals earlier this year, with many critics predicting that Keaton will be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. It could produce the biggest per-theater average for any film this year.