'Karate Kid,' 'A-Team' updates duel at b.o.

VIDEO: Studio tentpoles could bring the summer sizzle back

This weekend could put some sizzle back in the summer boxoffice.

Two studio tentpoles hit the marketplace Friday supported by solid interest in tracking polls: Sony's remake of "The Karate Kid," starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, and Fox's Joe Carnahan-helmed adaptation of 1980s TV series "The A-Team."

"Kid" could kick up $30 million-$35 million through Sunday, and "A-Team" also ought to assemble at least $30 million. That would make for a one-two boxoffice punch of the sort even rival distributors would applaud if it can rouse the market from an early-season stupor.

Both pics should appeal to family moviegoers, but any audience overlap is mitigated by their respective ratings: "Kid" packs a PG, and "A-Team" is PG-13. One of the two should debut at No. 1.

"Both pictures look solid, and it looks like it could be close," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Following the Ralph Macchio-Pat Morita original by 26 years, "Kid" has drawn decent early reviews for its use of exotic locations in China. Despite such far-flung shoots, Sony says production costs totaled $40 million.

"Kid" should attract audiences evenly split between males and females, skewing a bit toward the latter.

Recruits to the big-screen "A-Team" include Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. The pic totes a negative cost of at least $95 million.

"It's action adventure with a touch of comedy but nothing campy," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said.

Older and younger males should offer core support.

Among holdover titles to watch, Universal's R-rated comedy "Get Him to the Greek" must avoid a big sophomore-session decline if it is to build on positive word-of-mouth from early patrons. The Russell Brand-Jonah Hill starrer topped a pack of four wide openers last weekend to grab second place with $17.6 million.

DreamWorks Animation's 3D four-quel "Shrek Forever After" again will test its sturdy legs after three frames atop the domestic rankings. But the Paramount-distributed pic seems destined to underperform the franchise's two previous sequels despite a likely $250 million-plus theatrical run.

Par's own "Iron Man 2" could cross the magical $300 million threshold this weekend, becoming the second 2010 release to do so after Disney's "Alice in Wonderland," which has rung up $334 million domestically.

Limited releases this weekend include IFC Films' documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," with exclusive engagements in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Sony Pictures Classics period drama "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky" in two New York locations and one in L.A.

Industrywide, the weekend will be compared with a light $138 million frame last year topped by the $23.4 million debut of Sony's remake of "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3."

Despite the summer's soft start, year-to-date boxoffice remains 4% ahead of 2009 at $4.47 billion.
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