Movie projector: 'Other Guys' to finally displace 'Inception,' not many will dance to 'Step Up 3D'
The Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy "The Other Guys" is virtually certain to be the most popular movie in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, people who have seen pre-release polling said. It will likely open to around $30 million, right in line with Ferrell's 2008 comedy "Step Brothers."
Young men are most excited for the movie, according to surveys, though women are also somewhat interested.
That would be something of a relief to distributor and financier Sony Pictures, which spent around $85 million to make "The Other Guys," in which Ferrell and Wahlberg play mismatched police partners. Ferrell's recent box-office track record has been mixed, as his movies before and after "Step Brothers," 2009's "Land of the Lost" and 2007's "Semi-Pro," were both flops, opening to $18.8 million and $15.1 million, respectively.
Ferrell's collaborations with director Adam McKay have been more consistent, however. All three of their previous films -- "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights," and "Step Brothers" -- have been box-office successes.
The latter two pictures both debuted late in the summer and grossed $148.2 million and $100.5 million, respectively. Sony is hoping that its new movie will end up doing at least that well, particularly since Ferrell comedies haven't historically translated well overseas. "Step Brothers" grossed only $27.6 million in foreign countries, while "Talladega Nights" collected a meager $14.8 million.
Despite efforts to spruce up the 4-year-old teen dance series with 3-D effects, Walt Disney Studios and Summit Entertainment's "Step Up 3D" is on track for a much smaller opening than its 2006 and 2008 predecessors. Whether it's franchise fatigue or poorly received advertising, surveys indicate the new film will open to between $10 million and $15 million. The original "Step Up" opened to $20.7 million in 2006 and the sequel "Step Up 2 the Streets" debuted with $18.9 million.
An opening of less than $15 million would indicate a significant decrease in attendance since many ticket buyers will pay a surcharge to see the new picture in 3-D.
Disney, the domestic distributor, has aggressively promoted the movie to its target young female audience with a campaign on Facebook that invites users to "Join the hottest party of the summer" and lets them vote on video submitted by dance crews.
Summit will release the movie overseas, where "Step Up 2" grossed a strong $90.5 million, 56% more than it did in the states.
The new sequel is likely to be at least No. 3 this weekend because "Inception" should gross a little less than $20 million on its fourth weekend. The Christopher Nolan-directed word-of-mouth hit had grossed $205.5 million as of Wednesday.
"Step Up 3D" could also come in behind the Steve Carell comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," which opened last weekend to $23.5 million.
In limited release, the independently financed film "Middle Men," about the beginnings of the online porn business, will be released through Paramount Pictures at 250 theaters in seven cities.
Warner Bros. opens the Rob Reiner-directed young-love tale "Flipped" at 45 theaters in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Austin, Texas.
— Ben Fritz
Top photo: Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in "The Other Guys." Credit: Macall Polly / Sony Pictures. Bottom photo: Adam Sevani, Kendra Andrews, Sharni Vinson, Tamara Levinson and Ashlee Nino (left to right) in "Step Up 3D."