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Brad Pitt KILLING THEM SOFTLY Bombs

Brad Pitt Killing Them SoftlyBrad Pitt Killing Them Softly box office: Weak Friday

Brad Pitt, big guns and all, has failed to rescue Andrew Dominik's The Weinstein Company-distributed Killing Them Softly at the North American box office. The R-rated crime comedy-drama debuted with a dismal $2.51 million at 2,424 locations on Friday, Nov. 30, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. (Photo: Brad Pitt Killing Them Softly.)

Reviews for the New Orleans-set movie based on George V. Higgins' novel have been mostly positive -- or at least lukewarm -- but hardly ecstatic: Killing Them Softly has a 68 percent approval rating and a 6.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. But The Weinstein Company clearly didn't have high hopes for their acquisition, dumping it on the weekend after Thanksgiving, when no movie has grossed more than $10m since the Charlize Theron action flick Aeon Flux (with $12.7m) back in 2005. (Well, adjusted for inflation, the Jake Gyllenhaal / Natalie Portman / Tobey Maguire 2009 release Brothers would have earned a tiny bit over $10m.) [See also: "Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart Beat Tough Guys Daniel Craig and Daniel Day-Lewis."]

The Weinstein Company in the red?

Reportedly budgeted at $15 million -- not including marketing and distribution expenses -- Killing Them Softly will be lucky if its domestic cume matches its production costs. Its weekend total will probably be around $7.5-$8m. One studio executive quoted at Deadline.com estimates (based on acquisition / distribution costs around $27m) that The Weinstein Company will lose more than $10m on their investment.

International prospects haven't been all that promising either, despite Brad Pitt's presence: $14.97 million up to Nov. 25 from about a dozen territories, including Australia, Russia / CIS, Italy, Spain, and top market UK (with $4.41m).

Now, looking on the bright side, Killing Them Softly will surely far outgross the previous Andrew Dominik / Brad Pitt collaboration, the well-received 2007 Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which cumed at $3.9 million in North America and $11.09 million internationally. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which also featured Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, and Sam Shepard, reportedly had a $30m budget.

Brad Pitt leads Killing Them Softly cast

Besides Brad Pitt, the Killing Them Softly cast includes Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Sam Shepard, Richard Jenkins, Max Casella, Trevor Long, Vincent Curatola, and Garret Dillahunt.

Brad Pitt Killing Them Softly photo: The Weinstein Company.

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