Box Office Preview: Julia Roberts and Selena Gomez Enter the Fray

11:56 AM PST 06/30/2011 by Pamela McClintock

"Larry Crowne" and "Monte Carlo" bow Friday as counter programming to "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

The Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer Larry Crowne hopes to lure adults when opening Friday at the domestic box office, but tracking has been on the softer side for the slice-of-life comedy.

Also opening Friday is Selena Gomez girl pic Monte Carlo from 20th Century Fox and New Regency.

REVIEW: Monte Carlo

As with Larry Crowne, Monte Carlo hopes to serve as counterprogramming to the action-packed Transformers: Dark of the Moon over the long Fourth of July weekend (Transformers got a jump on the holiday by opening Tuesday night and raked in $37.3 million on its first day.).

REVIEW: Larry Crowne

Tracking shows Larry Crowne, costing $30 million to produce, opening in the low teens.

One wild card: Larry Crowne could face competition from Woody Allen’s adult-fueled sleeper hit Midnight in Paris. Sony Pictures Classics is planning an aggressive play over the holiday weekend for the film, which has cumed $29.7 million at the domestic box office.

Hanks directed and stars in Larry Crowne, which was fully financed by Vendome Pictures. Universal is distributing the pic on behalf of Vendome and Hanks’ production company Playtone.

Hanks and Universal have been aggressively marketing the adult comedy, which follows a former Navy veteran who enrolls in community college and falls for a speech professor. Along the way, he joins a group of outcasts who ride motor scooters.

Hanks, who co-wrote the script with Nia Vardalos, co-hosted one of Oprah Winfrey’s final shows in promoting Larry Crowne and also went on a five-city tour. The film marks his second directing effort after 1996's That Thing You Do!

Like other adult-driven films, Universal is counting on Larry Crowne being a long-term player at the box office. It’s tracking best among older females, followed by older men.

Monte Carlo also is anticipating a modest opening, considering it is targeted at one demo, younger females.

STORY: Selena Gomez: 5 Things You Didn't Know About the 'Monte Carlo' Star

In addition to Gomez, the film stars Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, Cory Monteith and Andie MacDowell.

Directed by Tom Bezucha, Monte Carlo is about three friends who pose as wealthy young socialites in Monaco. It includes the song “Who Says” from Selena Gomez & the Scene.

Nicole Kidman and Denise Di Novi produced Monte Carlo for Fox and New Regency.

VIDEO: Selena Gomez's 'When The Sun Goes Down' Track-By- Track

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