By Amy Kaufman
4:21 PM EST, November 29, 2012
Brad Pitt's latest movie "Killing Them Softly" won't make a killing at the box office this weekend.
Rather, the violent dark comedy will debut 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 at the multiplex for the third consecutive weekend. The vampire flick is expected to add another $15 million to $20 million to its to-date take of $230 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 debut 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 around $5 million.
"Killing Them Softly" is the latest passion project for Pitt, who is teaming with Australian director Andrew Dominik for the second time. The two first worked together on 2007's "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% 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 International Film Festival in May, the movie was pushed off of its original September release date.
Financed primarily by Megan Ellison's production company Annapurna Pictures for $15 million, the movie is being 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 2009's "The Collector," which only bagged $7.7 million in North America. The new film, which has received middling reviews, centers around a young woman who is kidnapped by a killer called "The Collector" who takes all of 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 veterans of the horror genre have co-written a number of scary flicks including four installments in the "Saw" franchise.