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The Steve Carell-starring comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t generating too many laughs at the Friday box office, where it is losing to fellow new entry The Call, starring Halle Berry.
From New Line and Warner Bros., Burt Wonderstone may only gross $12 to $13 million in its debut — one of the lowest results for a broad comedy starring Carell.
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Sony/TriStar’s R-rated thriller The Call, starring Berry opposite Abigail Breslin, should come in $2 million higher, although if Wonderstone draws families on Saturday it could pull ahead.
That doesn’t mean that either film will come in No. 1, however. Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful will continue to dominate the box-office chart in its second weekend, with a gross in the $40 million range. Oz jumped the $100 million mark on Thursday for a North American cume of $102.8 million.
Burt Wonderstone reteams Carell with Jim Carrey, who worked together on Bruce Almighty. The new film also stars Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini.
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If Burt Wonderstone underperforms, it will mark the second New Line and Warner Bros. title to disappoint this month, after Jack the Giant Slayer. But with a production pricetag of $32 million, Wonderstone is far less of a financial risk. Directed by Don Scardino, the comedy tells the story of Burt Wonderstone (Carell), a Las Vegas magician who reteams with a former partner (Buscemi) to take on up-and-coming street magician Steve Gray (Carrey).
Box-office observers believe The Call, which cost a modest $13 million to produce, could overperform if it does well among African-American moviegoers, a demo Sony targeted, in addition to women.
In the film, Berry plays a 911 operator who receives a call from a girl who has been abducted. The operator soon learns she must confront a killer (Michael Eklund) from her past. Brad Anderson directed the film, which was produced and financed by Troika Pictures and WWE Studios.
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