Box Office Report: Lindsay Lohan's Erotic Thriller 'The Canyons' Off to Soft Theatrical Start

"The Canyons"

The film -- directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis -- is hoping to be a big draw on VOD; Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington action pic "2 Guns" enjoying solid business as it opens nationwide, while "Smurfs 2" battles family glut.

Lindsay Lohan's erotic thriller The Canyons is off to a tepid start in its theatrical run.

The film, directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis, is playing at only one theater, the IFC Center in New York City. Matinee returns show the indie pic taking in just north of $3,300 so far, but IFC is hoping to make up ground by also offering the film simultaneously on VOD.

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Elsewhere at the North American box office, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington's action pic 2 Guns is off to a good start, with a projected Friday gross in the $8 million to $9 million range, putting the film's three-day debut at about $27 million.

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.

Universal, which is distributing the movie in the U.S., is predicting a North American debut in the low-$20 million range (Entertainment One is handling distribution in Canada); more bullish box-office observers believe it could hit $30 million. At those numbers, 2 Guns would debut in line with other genre pics in which the two actors have appeared.

The R-rated action pic, 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 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.

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2 Guns has a strong shot of beating the weekend's other new wide entry, Sony's The Smurfs 2, which opened midweek. The CGI/live-action hybrid -- battling a glut of family product -- is anticipating a five-day debut in the $27 million to $30 million range.

Smurfs 2, rolling out Wednesday, grossed a so-so $9.5 million in its first two days. Two weeks ago, Turbo opened to $5.6 million on its way to a softish five-day debut of $31 million. One advantage Smurfs 2 has is that megahit Despicable Me 2 is further into its run. The movie also should be helped by an A- CinemaScore.

But it remains to be seen whether Smurfs 2 can 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 (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).