Box Office Preview: 'The Internship' May Be a Dud

"The Internship"
"The Internship"
 Twentieth Century Fox

Shawn Levy and Vince Vaughn's The Internship -- their love letter to Google -- may only debut in the $15 million range in a major disappointment for Levy, 20th Century Fox and New Regency.

The spoils are instead likely to go to Universal's high-concept home invasion movie The Purge. The $3 million thriller could cross $20 million in its domestic debut and topple fellow Universal title Fast & Furious 6 from the top perch.

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There were high hopes for The Internship, which reunites Vaughn and Owen Wilson for the first time since Wedding Crashers eight years ago. That film ushered in a new era of prosperity for R-rated comedies and grossed a record-breaking $285.2 million worldwide. Unlike Wedding Crashers, The Internship is rated PG-13.

Tracking has been abysmally soft for The Internship, despite strong test scores, insiders say. Fox and New Regency co-financed the $58 million film, a passion project for Vaughn and Levy.

From a script Vaughn wrote with The Watch's Jared Stern, The Internship follows two washed-up salesmen who decide to finally embrace the digital age by doing internships at Google. The story is set at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley, also the site of press junkets for the film. Levy and Vaughn worked closely with Google throughout the process.

The comedy has received poor reviews, with numerous critics noting that the film feels like a promo for Google. Rose Byrne, Max Minghella, JoAnna Garcia and John Goodman also star.

Levy enjoys favored status at Fox because of the blockbuster Night at the Museum franchise. He also directed Date Night for the studio.

The Purge marks the first title to be released via Universal's partnership with Jason Blum, the producer behind such hits as the Paranormal Activity franchise and Insidious. Blum produced the $3 million film with Michael Bay, Sebastien K. LeMercier and Bay's colleagues at Platinum Dunes, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller.

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Written and directed by James DeMonaco, The Purge stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. Set in a future America where any crime is sanctioned for one night a year, the story revolves around a peaceful family who must fight off vicious attackers invading their home.

New offerings at the specialty box office include Joss Whedon's high-profile film Much Ado About Nothing. Roadside Attractions opens the black-and-white film in five theaters.

Also opening in a limited run is Entertainment One's drama Wish You Were Here, starring Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer.

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