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Movie projector: 'Land of the Lost' may be summer's first flop

June 4, 2009 |  1:45 pm

LandLostIf pre-release audience polling proves right, not many moviegoers will find "Land of the Lost" this weekend.

Universal and Relativity Media's $100-million comedy based on the 1970s TV show is tracking to sell $30 million to $35 million worth of tickets this weekend. That's in line with other recent films starring Will Ferrell, such as "Step Brothers." But for a big-budget summer event movie, it would be a weak debut.

The movie's marketing campaign doesn't seem to be drawing enough teenagers or adults. Its best hope is to draw families with older kids who aren't interested in "Up."

Universal surely picked this Friday to open the film in hopes it would launch in a dominant first-place position. But a movie that originally looked like counter-programming, "The Hangover," will probably end up close and could possibly beat it.

Warner Bros. and Legendary's modestly budgeted comedy is tracking to open in the mid-$20 millions. Both men and women seem to be drawn to the film's hilarious advertisements -- you can never go wrong with a baby in sunglasses -- despite the lack of a major star.

Regardless of which new movie comes out on top, the No. 1 film this weekend almost certainly won't be a new one. If it follows the pattern of previous Pixar animated features, "Up" will drop less than 50% on its second weekend in theaters, meaning it should gross close to $40 million. Strong weekday ticket sales as children start getting out of school have boosted "Up's" total gross to $86.9 million after a $68.1-million opening weekend.

Fox Searchlight is also opening the low budget Nia Vardalos comedy "My Life in Ruins." It will probably gross under $10 million.

In international markets, the major new release will be "Terminator Salvation." Sony Pictures is releasing the film in 61 countries on behalf of the Halcyon Co., which has to hope the fourth series entry will do better overseas than it has at home. After a two full weeks, "Salvation," which had a production budget around $200 million, has grossed only $95.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, suggesting its own salvation has yet to come.

--Ben Fritz

Photo: Danny McBride, left, Will Ferrell and Anna Friel in "Land of the Lost." Credit: Ralph Nelson, Universal Pictures.

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