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Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington‘s action pic 2 Guns topped the Friday box office with $10 million on its way to a $28 million debut, easily enough to win the box office race in North America. The filmmakers had hoped to hit $30 million, considering the combined star power of Washington and Wahlberg, who haven’t appeared together before on the big screen.
Suffering from a glut of family product, Sony’s The Smurfs 2 may only earn $17.5 million for the three-day weekend for a five-day opening of $27 million, less than hoped for and putting it at No. 3 behind 2 Guns and The Wolverine (the CGI/live action hybrid rolled out on Wednesday). The studio is expecting to make up ground overseas, with one executive noting: “Expect big news.”
At the specialty box office, Lindsay Lohan‘s erotic thriller The Canyons is doing so-so business at the IFC Center in New York. The film, directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis, is projected to earn $25,000 for the weekend, although it could be a huge draw on VOD.
Friday’s other headliner was Syfy’s made-for-TV movie Sharknado, which has been such a sensation that Syfy and Regal Entertainment decided to host midnight screenings of the film in 200 theaters across the country. So far, no numbers are available.
From Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur, 2 Guns is the latest summer film to tie its fortunes primarily to males. It’s also expected to appeal to African-American moviegoers.
The R-rated action pic, earning a B+ CinemaScore, infused with a heavy dose of humor, cost between $80 million and $90 million to produce, although the net budget was $61 million after tax incentives. Emmett/Furla Films and Foresight Unlimited financed and produced the film, with Foresight Unlimited handling international rights. The film project generated huge interest among foreign distributors, with Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group buying rights to much of the world.
2 Guns revolves around a DEA agent (Washington) and Naval Intelligence officer (Wahlberg) who must work together after they are set up by the CIA. Wahlberg and Kormakur first worked together on action pic Contraband, which debuted to $24.3 million in January 2012.
Smurfs 2, scoring an A- CinemaScore, won’t match the $35.6 million earned by The Smurfs in its first three days when it opened in late July 2011. Either way, Sony is counting more on the sequel’s international prospects considering the first film took in a stunning $421.1 million overseas, representing 75 percent of the film’s global haul of $563.7 million.
Based on the comic book series created by the Belgian artist Peyo, Smurfs 2 is the second title in a planned trilogy (The Smurfs 3 is set for summer 2015). The sequel sees all of the main cast returning, with Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria reprising their live-action roles. Jonathan Winters, who died this spring, and Katy Perry lead the voice cast, while Raja Gosnell returns to the director’s chair.
Hollywood has never opened so many family films in a single summer. This season boasts Epic, Monsters University, Despicable 2, Turbo, Smurfs 2 and Planes, which hits theaters in two weeks (there’s also the Percy Jackson sequel, though that will skew older).
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