Action extravaganza The Expendables easily topped the Friday box office, but overall moviegoing remained on the softer side as the sequel found itself trailing the original 2010 film.
Expendables 2, from Lionsgate and Millennium Films, grossed $10.5 million for a projected weekend opening in the $27 million to $28 million range. On the same weekend two years ago, Expendables grossed $13.3 million on its first Friday for a $34.8 million opening.
The sequel - featuring a who's who of 1980s action stars, plus Liam Hemsworth -- received an A- CinemaScore, portending good word of mouth.
Expendables 2 has several noteworthy additions to its cast, including Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. And while Arnold Schwarzenegger made a cameo in the first film, he's featured far more in the sequel.
The rest of the cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews.
Financially, Lionsgate is on solid ground, having acquired North American and U.K. rights to Expendables 2 for $35 million.
Bourne Legacy came in No. 2 on Friday, earning $5.3 million for weekend gross in the $16.5 million to $17 million range, putting its 10-day domestic total close to $70 million.
Among the weekend's other new films, TriStar's muscial drama Sparkle and Focus Features' family entry ParaNorman ended Friday in a close race for No. 3.
ParaNorman, grossing $4.59 million on Friday, could edge past Sparkle for the weekend as families become more available. The 3D stop motion pic, earning a B+ CinemaScore, was produced by Laika, the creative force behind Coraline.
Box office observers are projecting a weekend opening in the $13 million to $14 million range for ParaNorman. The movie is playing in 3,429 locations, the widest bow ever for Focus.
ParaNorman, about a boy who must stop the destruction of his hometown by a witch's spell, is voiced by Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick and Leslie Mann. Coraline, released in February 2009, opened to $16.8 million.
Sparkle -- Whitney Houston's final movie -- grossed $4.55 million on Friday and earned a glowing A CinemaScore. The film is expected to post a weekend gross in the $12.5 million to $14 milion range.
The remake of the 1976 film stars American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Cee Lo Green, Cameron Ejogo and Tika Sumpter and is about three sisters who form a singing group in Detroit during the Motown era. Houston plays their mother.
Both Sparkle and ParaNorman are facing competition from holdover The Campaign, the raunchy political satire starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. The Warner Bros. comedy cmae in No. 4 on Friday, grossing $4.2 million for a possible $13 million weekend.
Disney's whimsical drama The Odd Life of Timothy Green, opening Wednesday, grossed $3.5 million on Friday for a five-day debut in the $13 million to $14 million range. Starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a childless couple who dream up a !0-year-old boy, Timothy Green received an A- CinemaScore.