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Box Office Preview: 'This Is the End' Eyeing $30 Million-Plus Debut

This Is The End Guys with Weapons - H 2013
Columbia Pictures
"This is the End"

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg make their directorial debut with the R-rated, end-of-the-world comedy.

Looking to get a jump on Man of Steel, Sony's raunchy apocalypse comedy This Is the End rolls out in select theaters Tuesday night before opening everywhere in North America on Wednesday.

The ensemble film -- marking the directorial debut of Pineapple Express scribes Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg -- is hoping for a pleasing five-day debut in the low $30 million range, which would recoup the film's $32 million budget.

Starring Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and Emma Watson, This is the End hopes to serve as counter programming  to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' Superman entry Man of Steel, which begins rolling out Thursday night in the U.S.

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In comedy, the actors -- all playing fictional versions of themselves -- meet at a star-studded party at Franco's house when the apocalypse begins and they're forced to work together to survive. The film is based on a short film created by Rogen and Baruchel in 2007 titled Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse. Rogen and Goldberg also co-wrote the scripts for Superbad, The Green Hornet and The Watch.

This is the End, which will play in more than 2,900 theaters, also features several other cameos during the early scenes at Franco's house party, including appearances by Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd and Kevin Hart.

In terms of sheer gross, the comedy will be eclipsed once the highly anticipated Man of Steel debuts. Zack Snyder's superhero action film, produced by Christopher Nolan, opens in 24 foreign markets, including in South Korea on Thursday.

Among other major markets, Man of Steel opens in the U.K. and Mexico on Friday. The following weekend, the $225 million tentpole opens in 26 additional markets, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Based on tracking, box office observers are predicting a North American debut in the $85 million to $100 million range.

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British actor Henry Cavill stars as Clark Kent in the origins tale, which sees his character trying to hide his superpowers and live a normal life on Earth. Amy Adams stars as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon takes on the role of the menacing General Zod.

With a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, and a script by Goyer, Man of Steel will have a special screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Wednesday. It opens in limited release in the U.S. Thursday night, with a wide release on Friday in more than 4,200 theaters.

Warners and Legendary turned to Nolan as a producer on the project after he successfully revived the Batman franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy. In the summer of 2005, Nolan's Batman Begins opened to $48.7 million and had incredible staying power.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM
Twitter: @Beccamford