Weekend Box Office: ‘Ides of March’ and ‘Real Steel’ Go Head to Head

Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman, is expected to be this weekend’s biggest box office opener, but it’s George Clooney’s Ides of March that is the weekend’s most-hyped new release.

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Real Steel, produced by DreamWorks, introduced the sport of robot boxing and is set in the near future. The film’s star, Hugh Jackman, plays a washed-up fighter who discovers that he has an 11-year-old son and bonds with the boy over a junkyard robot they discover. The film is expected to play biggest to families and fanboys, and conservative estimates have Real Steel opening in the $22 million to $25 million range this weekend. Real Steel opens today in 3,440 locations in North America, as well as Russia, Australia, and Mexico.

Ides of March is a political drama that follows an idealistic staffer, played by Ryan Gosling, on the campaign trail with a Democratic presidential candidate, played by George Clooney. The film — directed and co-written by Clooney — is based on a play by Beau Willimon. Also starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood, the film was produced by Cross Creek for just $12.5 million, and is being distributed by Sony (NYSE:SNE). Ides of March opens in 2,199 theaters nationwide today.

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The well-reviewed Ides of March has built up a lot of anticipation coming out of the Toronto Film Festival last month, and while opening in far fewer theaters than its rival this weekend, could still have decent numbers at the box office. The film has been tracking best among older audiences, both men and women above the age of 25, but Sony expects some younger moviegoers to turn out as well.