Scott Bowles -- USA TODAY
Pain & Gain found more of the latter than former this weekend, coasting to the top of the box office on a weekend that left critics wincing.
Gain, Michael Bay's $25 million film starring Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, collected $20 million, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
Despite getting roughed up by critics, the true story of bodybuilders caught in an extortion ring met most analysts' expectations.
According to survey site Rottentomatoes.com, just 47% of reviewers gave the film a thumbs up. More impressive: The film won the weekend easily although only a middling 69% of moviegoers liked it, the amalgam site says.
Still, some analysts say that, considering the big names involved, the movie's debut was simply passable. Tim Briody of Boxofficeprophets.com says that the opening "feels to be less than the sum of its parts." He says the film deserves credit for nearly earning its production back in three days. "But it's hard to shake the feeling of money being left on the table."
Tom Cruise's action thriller Oblivion took second place with $17.4 million, followed by the Jackie Robinson drama 42 with $10.7 million.
If Gain thought it found a rough reception from critics, at least it wasn't the comedy starring Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton, The Big Wedding. The film took $7.5 million, short of its already-modest projections. It also earned the distinction of being one of the worst-reviewed films of 2013. Just 6% of critics recommended the film, Rottentomatoes.com says. In a stark disagreement between the public and press, 80% of audiences liked it, giving the $35 million movie a puncher's chance to have the last laugh.
The animated comedy The Croods rounded out the top 5 with $6.6 million.
Final figures are due Monday.
Attendance and revenues are down 12% from last year, says Hollywood.com.