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Box office preview: Mob comedy 'The Family' vs. 'Insidious Chapter 2'

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Two very different kinds of families are facing off at the box office this weekend: One is a Robert De Niro-led mafia clan in the witness protection program and the other is a family who may not be entirely rid of the demonic spirits who possessed their young son.

We hate to break it to Mr. De Niro, despite his mafia patriarch credentials, it’s not even a contest. Insidious Chapter 2, James Wan’s sequel to his runaway hit, Insidious, will win the weekend, while Luc Besson’s The Family might not even make second place. Instead, Wan will compete with his Fast & Furious 7 star Vin Diesel, whose Riddick brought in $19 million its first weekend in theaters.

1. Insidious: Chapter 2 – $34 million

James Wan already has a summer success story with The Conjuring. The R-rated horror film has taken in around $135.3 million domestically on a modest $20 million budget. The first Insidious also managed to make $54 million domestically on a bare-bones $1.5 million budget, making it one of 2011’s biggest surprises. According to Fandango, the sequel, slated to open in 3,049 locations, is already ranking as the site’s top pre-seller in the horror category, and is experiencing a social media surgeInsidious: Chapter 2 has something else working for it — a PG-13 rating. Film District is projecting weekend earnings in the $22 million to $24 million range, but based on The Conjuring‘s $41 million opening, Wan’s recently elevated profile, and the fact that teenagers can see it, we’re predicting that it’ll do even better.

2. Riddick – $9.5 million

After opening at $19 million last weekend with no competition, the R-rated Vin Diesel-starrer should drop off at least 50 percent, if not more.  After six days in theaters, the $38 million sci-fi action pic has made about $23.3 million domestically in 3,107 theaters. In 2004, The Chronicles of Riddick experienced a steep 61.2 percent second-week drop. Babylon A.D., another of Diesel’s non-Fast & Furious sci-fi pics, dropped 55.9 percent in its second weekend.

3. The Family – $9 million

Opening in 3,091 theaters, Relativity’s R-rated $30 million “mob family goes to a sleepy French town” comedy will likely come in third place with around $9 million. Director Luc Besson’s last big success was 1997’s The Fifth Element, and that had the benefit of both Bruce Willis and its sci-fi plot. Stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Glee‘s Dianna Agron aren’t solid box office bets either. Marketing has played up Martin Scorsese’s producing role to lend mafia cred to the picture, but it’s unclear how that will factor into the decision-making when it comes to getting people in the theaters opening weekend.

4. Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $7 million

The Weinstein Company’s star-studded drama is heading into its fifth week in theaters. Holding steady in 3,300 theaters, the historical epic experienced its first significant drop last weekend, where it brought in $8.4 million, and will probably continue a steady decline. Still, at $92.99 million as of Sept. 10, The Butler should cross the $100 million mark this weekend — a first for director Lee Daniels.

5. Instructions Not Included – $6 million

The Spanish-language comedy that managed to chart despite being in fewer than 1,000 theaters will likely continue to do well, perhaps even knocking We’re the Millers, which is entering its sixth week in theaters, out of the top five. It expanded into 717 theaters last weekend and is currently netting earnings of about $21.5 million. With the theater count remaining steady, there will probably be a bit of a drop off, but this surprise success story has legs.

Check back in this weekend for updates.