'Grown Ups' poised to beat 'Knight and Day'

4:14 PM PST 06/24/2010 by Carl DiOrio, Gregg Kilday
"Toy Story 3," "Grown Ups" and "Knight and Day"

VIDEO: 'Toy Story 3' eyeing repeat atop domestic boxoffice

Fox's "Knight and Day," looking to jump-start the weekend, didn't exactly gun its engines as it opened Wednesday to $3.8 million.

But between "Knight," with its blend of romance, screwball comedy and action, and Sony's "Grown Ups," which offers broad slapstick, industryites are hoping this week's wide openers prove sufficiently complementary to shape a third straight solid session at the domestic boxoffice.

Looking to energize word-of-mouth for James Mangold's "Knight" -- featuring a big-screen reunion of "Vanilla Sky" friends with benefits Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz -- Fox previewed the movie nationwide on Saturday.

While its opening day fell short of expectations, the studio is betting the movie will build a constituency. With a Friday-to-Saturday figure on one side or the other of the $20 million mark, "Knight" would end its first five days somewhere in the $20 million-plus range.

"It's an adult movie opening on a Wednesday, but we opened it there and snuck it on Saturday because we believe the word-of-mouth will be good, so we're set for a pretty good opening weekend," Fox distribution topper Bruce Synder said. "Remember, it's an original, adult movie, which we expect will run for quite a while."

Rated PG-13, "Knight" cost Fox and New Regency a reported $117 million to produce and is seen as something of an important career resuscitator for its two topliners.

Sony's ensemble comedy "Grown Ups" is poised to ring up a bigger opening -- although it's not headed for the top slot, either.

Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3" is certain to repeat in the gold medal position following its phenomenal $110 opening frame. Even if it falls anywhere from 40%-50%, it will still take in something between $55-$66 million.

"Grown Ups" should emerge as a strong No. 2, though, offering up Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider in a laughs-filled reunion of high school basketball teammates. Dennis Dugan ("You Don't Mess With the Zohan") directed the PG-13 pic. Tracking suggests a $40 million debut for the movie, whose production cost was in the $70 million range.

"It's going to resonate to fans of the cast and appeal to family moviegoers," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "So it should open solidly and have a very good multiple in subsequent weekends."

This weekend's limited openers include National Geographic's release of the Afghanistan-set, Sundance-winning documentary "Restrepo," directed by Tim Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger, and Sony Pictures Classics' romantic drama "Wild Grass" from eminent French director Alain Resnais.

On an industrywide basis, the frame will be compared with the big $200.7 million session from last summer that was topped by a $109 million first-weekend tally for Paramount's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." So whatever the potency of this weekend's wide openers, it would be a huge accomplishment even to match the industry's year-ago comparison.

Carl DiOrio reported from Amsterdam; Gregg Kilday reported from Los Angeles.
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