“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” has the early edge on Johnny Depp’s “Black Mass” at the U.S. box office as the science-fiction sequel heads for a solid opening weekend around $31 million.

“Black Mass,” Depp’s chilling portrayal of gangster Whitey Bulger, looks likely to wind up the weekend with around $25 million to $27 million.

Fox’s “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” showed plenty of heat on its opening day with a Friday total of $11 million at 3,791 sites, while Warner Bros.’ “Black Mass” grossed $8.8 million at 3,188 locations.

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Universal’s “Everest” began its box office climb on Friday with a respectable $2.3 million at 545 premium large-format locations, which should give the mountaineering epic around $7.1 million for the weekend as the studio attempts to build buzz for a wide release next weekend. The film, a co-production with Cross Creek and Walden Media, has also launched internationally with a $26.5 million weekend in 36 markets.

Should Saturday projections hold, “The Scorch Trials” would finish the weekend slightly below “The Maze Runner,” which debuted to $32.5 million on the same weekend last year. The sequel, with a story picking up at the point where “The Maze Runner” ended, stars Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario and Patricia Clarkson.

“Black Mass” drew decently among moviegoers under 35, who comprised 33% of the audience and gave the violent crime thriller a B+ Cinemascore. The pic, which has generated solid critical support following its showings at the Telluride, Venice and Toronto film festivals, appears likely to finish the weekend in the mid-range of recent projections.

Paramount’s launch of the faith-based thriller “Captive,” starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara, appeared to be showing little traction with $647,000 at 808 theaters on Friday. It will wind up the weekend short of $2 million.

Lionsgate saw an impressive platform launch for “Sicario” with $133,810 at six locations. The thriller, starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, is expected to finish the weekend with a stellar $300,000-plus.

“Sicario” will expand to approximately 40 locations on Sept. 25 before opening wide on Oct. 2.

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