Box Office: 'Anchorman 2' Easily Winning Wednesday Race

The sequel -- with Will Ferrell returning as anchorman Ron Burgundy -- hopes to approach $45 million in its five-day debut.

Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is off to a strong start at the domestic box office, where it could gross as much as $10 million on Wednesday for an easy No. 1 finish.

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Paramount decided to open the holiday comedy midweek in order to get a jump on the Christmas crush and is projecting a five-day debut in the $40-$45 million range (the Christmas season doesn't generally see huge openings; rather, films can enjoy strong multiples).

Wednesday's projected booty includes $2.3 million in Thursday night grosses. So far, Anchorman 2 is pacing ahead of recent hit comedies This Is the End and We're the Millers, both of which likewise opened on a Wednesday, taking in $7.8 million and $6.8 million, respectively. We're the Millers debuted to $38 million, while This Is the End took in $33 million.

Anchorman 2, opening nine years after Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy debuted to $28.4 million in July 2004, cost $50 million to produce.

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Paramount has curated a heavy worldwide promotional tour for the sequel, with Ferrell playing his quirky yet confident character in commercials (for Dodge Durango), on TV shows (Conan) and at hyper-local events like a curling competition in Winnipeg and a North Dakota newscast. Ben & Jerry's even released an Anchorman-inspired flavor called "Scotchy Scotch Scotch."

The sequel, which sees the return of Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Christina Applegate while adding newcomers James Marsden, Harrison Ford and Kristen Wiig, follows the news team as they make the transition from San Diego to New York. Adam McKay returns to direct from a script he co-wrote with Ferrell.