Relativity's "3 Days to Kill" and Sony's "Pompeii" have launched with moderate U.S. returns from latenight Thursday screenings.
The Kevin Costner actioner "3 Days" took in an estimated $325,000 at 10 p.m. shows, while "Pompeii" delivered $235,000 at 1,785 locations.
Both new films are forecasted to finish the weekend in the same range, while Warner's third frame of "The Lego Movie" will win its third weekend in the $34 million to $36 million range.
"Lego" took in $2.7 million on Thursday to lift its domestic cume to $151.7 million after 14 days.
The weekend box office is expected to slow down considerably since last week's busy Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend saw four new entries, led by Sony-Screen Gems' "About Last Night" bow nationwide. That film, which grossed a solid $27.8 million in four days, will compete for a heated runner-up title as it's also expected land somewhere in the $11 million-$13 million range.
This time last year, Universal's comedy holdover "Identity Thief" surged to first place in its third frame, though it won the weekend with just $14 million.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's "The Lego Movie" continues to benefit as the best option for families, as well as a crossover hit with adult auds. So far, the 3D toon, which could drop around 35% between Friday and Sunday, has grossed nearly $150 million domestically, with more than $60 million overseas. If "Lego" achieves the expected domestic three-peat, it'll be the second film to do so this year after Universal's "Ride Along."
The male-skewing new entries likely will mean that Valentine's Day holdovers "Endless Love" and "Winter's Tale" will remain female-friendly choices. "Endless Love," with $15.4 million through Wednesday, scored a solid 'A-' CinemaScore, however. "Winter's Tale" (at $8.8 million) received a less-enthusiastic 'B' rating. Both netted a stinging 14% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sony and MGM's soph-sesh holdover "RoboCop" also will vie for male attention. Though the $100 million-budgeted film may find it difficult to leg out domestically, its international prospects are more promising with worldwide expectations surpassing $200 million.
"Pompeii," which Sony is distributing Stateside for financier Constantin Films, launches in 2D and 3D at 2,658 total locations. The now-defunct FilmDistrict (which consolidated with Focus Features) is footing the P&A bill.
The sword-and-sandals epic -- the first of several due out this year -- takes place in the doomed Roman city. Pic stars "Game of Thrones" actor Kit Harington, alongside a motley crew of supporting players, including Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Jared Harris and Kiefer Sutherland.
Meanwhile, the Kevin Costner actioner "3 Days to Kill" marks the second Relativity-EuropaCorp co-production to bow, with Relativity handling U.S. distribution and a few international territories.
"3 Days to Kill" follows a renowned international spy (Costner), who discovers he has a terminal illness that can be cured with a treatment purchased if he performs one last mission. The film, which was budgeted for $28 million, marks an important lead role during a recent career resurgence for Costner, who had a memorable supporting turn in Paramount's "Jack Ryan" re-boot and who also won an Emmy for the TV miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys."
The Relativity film is meant to give Costner cred as an action star the way "Taken" pushed Liam Neeson into the spotlight. (Coincidentally, Neeson's lastest action vehicle "Non-Stop" looks to tread on Costner's heels bowing next weekend.)
Bowing in an aggressive limited release on Friday, Roadside Attractions' Elizabeth Olsen-Jessica Lange period potboiler "In Secret," based on "Therese Raquin" by Emile Zola, launches at 266 locations.