Box Office Report: 'Ice Age 4' Eyeing $14 Mil-$15 Friday, $40 Mil-Plus Weekend

UPDATED: The 3D animated pic -- already a monster overseas -- enters a competitive family marketplace in North America, with "Brave" still doing notable business.

Marking the summer's third animated tentople to bow in short order, 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Continental Drift is headed for a solid $40-million plus opening at the domestic box office, according to early returns.

That's in line with two of the three previous installments in the Ice Age franchise, but lower than the $66.3 million debut of Disney/Pixar's Brave three weeks ago or the $60.3 million debut of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted five weeks ago.

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The crowded family marketplace was one of the reasons why Fox was predicting an opening in the $38 million to $40 million range heading into the weekend.

Continental Drift easily led the box office in Friday matinee business, grossing north of $6 million and putting it on course for a $14 million to $15 million day. As with other Ice Age titles, it was doing especially well in Hispanic markets.

For much of Friday, Fox and other studios had a difficult time assessing how Continental Drift and other films were doing because of problems at Rentrak, the service that reports box office grosses.

Continental Drift  is already a hit overseas, where it has earned north of $225 million and should finish the weekend with an international cume of $300 million.

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In addition to Ice Age regulars Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah and Dennis Leary, Continental Drifit features a number of new additions to its voice cast, including Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Keke Palmer and Piolin, all of whom should provide an added draw for Hispanics and African-Americans, as well as teens across all demographics.

Fox's marketing campaign heavily leveraged the new talent, as well as the film's setting on the high seas.

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