'Zombieland' looks to kill at the boxoffice

'Toy Story' films to bow as a 3D double feature

If the walking dead, roller babes and Ricky Gervais aren't enough to lure recently resistant moviegoers back to the multiplex, perhaps a three-dimensional Buzz Lightyear will help?

Disney sends out 3D versions of its animated classics "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" as a double feature Friday.

"Many parents will feel connected to the films, but their kids have never seen them on the big screen," Disney distribution boss Chuck Viane said. "So I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with this."

Still, the extra-dimensional gambit is largely a scene-setter for the June arrival of "Toy Story 3," and a weekend haul of about $10 million looks likely.

Significantly, the Disney double feature and two new releases each will get relatively modest distribution in 1,700-1,800 theaters. By contrast, Sony's new Woody Harrelson-toplined zombie comedy "Zombieland" is set to enliven 3,036 venues and should top the session with $25 million or more in domestic boxoffice through Sunday.

"It's just the kind of action comedy that we feel is already resonating in the marketplace," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Indeed, even a top exec at a rival studio said he was intrigued by marketing materials for the slapstick gorefest.

"Off the record? I'm going!" the exec confided.

"Zombieland" was produced by Columbia Pictures for an estimated $24 million.

Elsewhere this weekend, Fox will open the Fox Searchlight-produced roller-derby movie "Whip It," starring Ellen Page ("Juno"). The best hopes for the pic, which marks Drew Barrymore's feature directing debut, seem to lie in the longer haul built primarily on interest among female demos.

"It should have great legs because the playability is excellent," Fox distribution boss Bruce Snyder said.

Fox offered 502 sneak previews of the film Saturday and drew audiences filled to an average 62% of capacity, including scattered sellouts. A bow in the high-single-digit millions looks likely.

Warner Bros. debuts the high-concept comedy "The Invention of Lying," starring Gervais. "Lying" is tracking a bit softly in prerelease surveys of prospective moviegoers and could bow in the mid-single-digit millions.

Also Friday, Overture expands Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" to 962 theaters. The documentary has rung up about $400,000 from a week of bicoastal exclusive engagements.

Meanwhile, the industry is looking to get back into the win column after a year-over-year downtick last weekend. The latest frame will be compared with a $113.5 million session from last year topped by the $29.2 million bow of Disney family comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."

Despite recent lackluster sessions, the domestic boxoffice, at $7.6 billion, maintains a 5% year-to-date increase over the same portion last year.
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