Weekend Box Office: ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Shooting Down ‘Logan Lucky’

‘Logan Lucky’ is director Steven Soderbergh’s first film in four years.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard could clear $18 million-$20 million in its box-office debut, more than enough to win the weekend ahead of Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, according to early returns.

Neither film lacks for star power, although it looks like another sluggish weekend overall as summer winds down.

Hitman’s Bodyguard, an action comedy, the film follows the world’s top bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who is assigned a new client — an infamous hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) who must be protected until he can testify at a trial. It’s directed by Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3).

From Lionsgate, Hitman’s Bodyguard is expected to gross $7 million-$8 million on Friday, including $1.7 million in Thursday previews.

Logan Lucky, made outside the Hollywood studio system, is pacing to earn $2.5 million-$3.5 million on Friday from 3,031 locations, including $525,000 in Thursday previews, for a $7 million-$8.5 million debut, one of the director’s lowest openings. It is his first film in four years after his previously announced “retirement.”

Bleecker Street is releasing the heist pic on behalf of Soderbergh’s Fingerprint Releasing. Soderbergh has said he raised $20 million to market the film so that he could manage the film’s trailers and other marketing materials.

Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes and Hilary Swank, Logan Lucky follows two brothers’ attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

There are no other new movies opening nationwide this weekend.

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Among holdovers, New Line’s Annabelle: Creation is expected to beat out Logan Lucky and place No. 2 with an estimated $11 million-$13 million in its second weekend.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk should place No. 4 with $6 million-$8 million, followed by The Nut Job: Nutty by Nature.

At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight is debuting Sundance sensation Patti Cakes$ in 14 locations, while The Weinstein Co.’s Wind River makes a major expansion as it ups its theater count to nearly 700 locations.

Aug. 18, 1 p.m. Updated with weekend estimates.