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‘The Girl on the Train’ Headed Full Steam Ahead for $26.5 Million Weekend

DreamWorks Pictures murder mystery “The Girl on the Train,” starring Emily Blunt, is on track to easily top this weekend’s box office with $26.5 million.

Earning $9.4 million on Friday, the adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel of the same name revolves around a troubled and eccentric divorcée (Blunt) who inserts herself into a missing persons case.

Trackers had the thriller topping $30 million earlier in the week, though studio estimates from Universal, the film’s distributor, were more conservative, predicting it would safely exceeding $20 million in box office receipts.

Also Read: ‘The Girl on the Train’ Review: This Emily Blunt Thriller Gets Off Track

The prospects are good for “The Girl on the Train,” which was made for $40 million, not counting marketing costs.

Playing in 3,135 theaters, the mystery thriller also features performances by Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin TherouxLuke EvansAllison JanneyEdgar Ramirez and Lisa Kudrow.

“The Girl on the Train” was directed by Tate Taylor, who helmed the Oscar-winning film “The Help,” which was also based on a book.

Slavery epic “The Birth of a Nation” won’t fare as well, with the latest projections now set lower than initial estimates of $9 million in opening weekend grosses. Now, the movie will be lucky to clear $8 million once the weekend comes to a close.

Also Read: Historian Calls Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ an ‘Epic Fail’

Marked by an off-screen controversy around the 17-year-old rape accusation of filmmaker and star Nate Parker, the title will have a hard time meeting the initial expectations from when it was bought by Fox Searchlight at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking $17.5 million.

“The Birth of a Nation,” produced for a reported $10 million, stars Parker as Nat Turner, who led a 48-hour slave rebellion against his white masters. Armie Hammer and Aja Naomi King co-star alongside Jackie Earle Haley and Jayson Warner Smith. It will have trouble finishing in the top five, tracking behind holdover, the animated “Storks.”

Another book adaptation in theaters this weekend is CBS Films and Lionsgate’s “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.”

Playing in 2,822 theaters, the coming-of-age comedy is expected to debut at $7 million, earning $1.95 million on Friday night alone. It was made for a reported $11 million, less marketing costs.

Also Read: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and 13 Other Movies You Only Want to Watch Once (Photos)

Given its A- CinemaScore, the movie could have legs going into next weekend. The PG rated film has a 62 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Directed by Steve Carr (“Paul Blart Mall Cop,” “Movie 43”), the film stars Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham and Rob Riggle.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Birth of a Nation’ Opening Sparks Silent Vigil by Sexual Assault Activists

‘The Birth of a Nation’ and 13 Other Movies You Only Want to Watch Once (Photos)

‘Birth of a Nation’ Is a ‘Powerfully Affecting Film’ That ‘Deserves to Be Seen,’ Critics Praise

‘Birth of a Nation’ Scandal: Timeline of Nate Parker’s Case

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