March 21, 2009 at 07:49 PM EDT

Nicolas Cage’s Knowing jumped out to an early lead at the weekend box office, grossing $9 million on Friday. The sci-fi flick thus has the inside edge to win a frame that is living up to expectations as a closely fought contest between three big new releases. Of those competitors, the R-rated Paul Rudd-Jason Segel comedy I Love You, Man fared well, earning a solid $6.4 mil on Friday, while Julia Roberts’ rom-thrill Duplicity was a bit soft, with $4.7 mil. Reigning champ Race to Witch Mountain, meanwhile, banked $3.8 mil and should rise in the box office rankings as families flock to their local multiplexes over the weekend. Friday’s totals are below, and please check back here tomorrow for a full weekend recap in the Box Office Report.

1. Knowing — $9 mil
2. I Love You, Man — $6.4 mil
3. Duplicity — $4.7 mil
4. Race to Witch Mountain — $3.8 mil
5. Watchmen — $2 mil

More Box Office News:
Box Office Preview: ‘I Love You, Man,’ ‘Duplicity,’ and ‘Knowing’ battle for No. 1
‘Race to Witch Mountain’ casts a spell at No. 1
‘Watchmen’ wins the weekend with $55.7 mil
‘Madea’ tops ‘Jonas Brothers’ for a second box office win
‘Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail’ wins big at the box office
‘Friday the 13th’ slashes records’s Box Office Chart

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