Box Office: Early Tracking Soft for Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore's 'Blended'

1:14 PM PST 05/08/2014 by Pamela McClintock
Warner Bros.
"Blended"

UPDATED: Warner Bros. still has two weeks to refine its campaign for the Memorial Day comedy; meanwhile, "Maleficent" wows in tracking, while "Million Ways to Die in the West" generates solid interest.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's upcoming Blended may have trouble crossing $25 million in its domestic debut, based on early tracking. The comedy reunites the two stars for the first time since box-office hit 50 First Dates a decade ago.

Blended opens opposite goliath X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23, the beginning of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. Bullish box-office observers believe Fox's Days of Future Past could approach $125 million in its four-day debut.

Insiders note that Warner Bros., known for its marketing expertise, still has two weeks left to market the comedy and whip up increased interest (there was an uptick in tracking Thursday, particularly among females). Sandler and Barrymore have made two successful films together; 50 First Dates, which debuted to nearly $40 million over Valentine's Day weekend on its way to earning roughly $200 million worldwide, and The Wedding Singer, which cost $18 million and grossed $123.3 million globally.

But Sandler has had a mixed track record lately. His last two films, Grown Ups 2 and the animated tentpole Hotel Transylvania, both worked, but That's My Boy (2012) and Jack and Jill (2011) disappointed. Grown Ups 2, released in July 2013, opened to $41.5 million domestically.

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Blended, about two single parents who find themselves trapped together with their kids on an African safari, is the first Sandler film Sony hasn't made since Funny People in 2009.

The forecast is looking altogether sunny for Disney's live-action fairy tale Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie opposite Elle Fanning. The $175 million movie, which opens a week after Blended on May 30, is sparking enormous interest among young girls and older females (likely moms) and could cross $60 million in its North American opening.  Many in Hollywood believe Maleficent will benefit from Frozen and the renewed interest in Disney's princess properties.

Also opening on May 30 is Seth MacFarlane's R-rated Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West. Early tracking is good for the Universal and Media Rights Capital movie, which should open north of $35 million, a solid start considering it's a Western, a difficult genre. That won't match the $54.4 million debut of MacFarlane's Ted on the same weekend in 2012, but that film had the advantage of starring Mark Wahlberg and a fuzzy teddy bear.

MacFarlane, who both directed and stars in Million Ways to Die, isn't as well known in front of the camera, but is surrounded by an ensemble cast that includes Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried.

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