Box Office Report: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington's '2 Guns' Aiming for First-Place Finish
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur's 2 Guns -- pairing Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington for the first time -- begins rolling out in theaters Thursday night, becoming the latest summer film to tie its fortunes primarily to males.
Universal, which is distributing the film 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 the two actors have appeared in.
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.
2 Guns should beat Sony's CGI/live-action hybrid The Smurfs 2 for the top spot at the domestic box office.
Smurfs 2, which rolled out midweek, is anticipating a five-day debut in the $30 million range, meaning a three-day gross somewhere north of $20 million. It opened to $5.2 million on Wednesday, slightly behind DreamWorks Animation's Turbo and reflecting a glut of family product in the marketplace.
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 from overseas (75 percent of the film's global haul of $563.7 million).
Smurfs 2 posted an opening-day gross of $1.4 million in the U.K. on Wednesday, 21 percent ahead of The Smurfs. Still, it only placed No. 3 behind Disney/Pixar's Monsters University (now in its third week) and 20th Century Fox's The Wolverine. In France and Switzerland, it debuted in line with the first movie. All told, it is rolling out in 42 foreign markets this week.
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, although that will skew older).
On Wednesday, during a Wall Street earnings call, DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg acknowledged a soft North American opening for Turbo, which he blamed on an "oversaturated" market for family films, but he's confident the movie will eventually be profitable. He said the large number of movies aimed at kids led to an "unprecedented" amount of competition.
Paul Schrader's high-profile erotic thriller The Canyons -- written by Bret Easton Ellis and headlined by Lindsay Lohan -- gets a theatrical and VOD release this weekend from IFC Films before screening out of competition at the Venice International Film Festival.
A24 Films opens James Ponsoldt's critically acclaimed dramedy The Spectacular Now in four theaters. Based on Tim Tharp's book of the same name, the movie stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. The film made its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.