Universal’s effort to reboot one of its marquee franchises takes center stage this weekend as The Bourne Legacy opens five years after the previous installment.
Jay Roach’s R-rated comedy The Campaign and David Frankel’s dramedy Hope Springs also enter the fray, but all three new titles will have to compete with the 2012 Summer Olympics, which heads into its homestretch culminating with Sunday’s Closing Ceremony.
Bourne Legacy — featuring Jeremy Renner as new leading man Aaron Cross — is widely expected to wrest the weekend crown from The Dark Knight Rises, which has dominated the box office for three consecutive weekends.
Along with Renner, other newcomers to the Bourne franchise include Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton; returning actors include Albert Finney, Joan Allen and David Strathairn.
Tracking suggests Bourne Legacy will open in the $40 million range, a solid number considering the departure of franchise star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. This time it’s Bourne scribe Tony Gilroy in the director’s chair.
Threequel The Bourne Ultimatum debuted to $69.3 million in August 2007, while sequel The Bourne Supremacy opened to $52.3 million in 2004. Franchise starter The Bourne Identity debuted to $27.1 million in 2002.
Gilroy, who also directed Duplicity and Michael Clayton, wrote or co-wrote the first three Bourne films and co-wrote Bourne Legacy with his brother Dan Gilroy.
Relativity Media partnered with Universal in financing the $125 million movie. Returning Bourne producers are Frank Marshall, Pat Crowley, Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner.
Bourne Legacy is opening in a number of foreign countries, many of them Asian markets.
Box-office observers expect Campaign, from Warner Bros., to open in the $22 million to $25 million range domestically.
The pic, starring Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis and timed to the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, is incredibly raunchy and features two candidates vying to represent their North Carolina district on Capitol Hill.
Costing less than $60 million to produce, Campaign is showing good traction with moviegoers under age 35. Ferrell produced the pic with his partner Adam McKay, Galifianakis and Roach.
The comedy has a shot at beating fellow Warners title The Dark Knight Rises, which has grossed $367 million to date in North America, for the No. 2 spot at the domestic box office.