Heading into the weekend, 'Doctor Sleep' was expected to easily win.

Horror-thriller Doctor Sleep is locked in a surprise battle with Midway for the box office crown, according to early Friday returns.

Both films are looking at weekend earnings in the $17 million to $20 million range, including an estimated $6.5 million each Friday. Some are even giving the edge to Midway, a big-budget World War II epic directed by Roland Emmerich.

Heading into the Veteran's Day frame, Doctor Sleep — a sequel set decades after the events in Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining — was easily expected to win with $25 million or more. The new movie is based on King's 2013 novel of the same name.

Conversely, Midway was tracking to debut domestically in the $12 million to $15 million range for Lionsgate.

From Warner Bros., Doctor Sleep is directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Ewan McGregor as an adult Danny Torrance. The R-rated film opens 39 years after Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, hit the big screen.

Midway, starring Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein and Nick Jonas, cost $100 million to make so it will need strong legs in order to recoup its cost.

Elsewhere, early holiday rom-com Last Christmas, starring Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke, is on course to open to $13 million to $15 million, in line with expectations. The Universal pic, directed by Paul Feig and inspired by the famous George Michael song, also stars Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh.

The fourth new release of the weekend is Paramount and Walden Media's family-friendly Playing With Fire, starring John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane as a group of firefighters who face their most challenging job yet: babysitting. Brianna Hildebrand also stars in the Andy Fickman-directed film, which is eyeing a debut in the $10 million to $12 million range, slightly ahead of tracking.

At the specialty box office, Amazon Studios opens the critically acclaimed Honey Boy in select theaters. The awards contender, written by and starring Shia LaBeouf, was directed by Alma Har'el.