'Cop Out' sets sights on 'Shutter Island'

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VIDEO: 'The Crazies,' starring Timothy Olyphant, opens wide

Late February is R-rated this year.

Two movies toting restricted ratings open in wide release Friday, a week after an R-rated thriller topped the domestic boxoffice. Warner Bros. unspools Kevin Smith's buddy-cop movie "Cop Out," starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, and Overture bows "The Crazies," a remake of George Romero's 1973 horror film that stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell.

"Cop" likely will duel for first place with sophomore-session holder "Shutter Island."

Paramount's Leonardo DiCaprio starrer headed the rankings with $41.1 million last weekend and has prospects of fetching as much as $20 million this time. But Warners distribution topper Dan Fellman said "Cop" has at least a shot at copping weekend bragging rights.

"It's going to be a competitive weekend," he said.

Prerelease tracking surveys show that "Cop" holds strongest appeal among older males. That overlaps a bit with at least a portion of the broad base of support for "Island."

"Crazies," meanwhile, targets younger demos, so it might overlap with "Island" but not as much with "Cop."

If must-see interest peaks late for "Crazies," which happened last week with "Island," it would become a dark-horse candidate to top the weekend. But at midweek, tracking showed the film from director Breck Eisner ("Sahara") headed for a bow in the midteen millions for a more realistic shot at the weekend's silver or bronze position.

"We feel like we're tracking strong with young males and good reviews," Overture distribution boss Kyle Davies said. "It scares you like a horror film is supposed to do and not just repulse you. So we are confident that the word-of-mouth is going to be good."

Limited openers set to hit theaters today include Sony Pictures Classics' R-rated crime drama "A Prophet," nominated in Oscar's best foreign-language category. The French-language film unspools in nine locations in Los Angeles, New York and Montreal.

Notable expansions include SPC's "The Last Station," which has drawn Oscar noms for Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. "Station" adds 243 engagements for a total of 359 this session.

Summit brings Roman Polanski's political thriller "The Ghost Writer" to 39 additional theaters in 10 cities for a total of 43 playdates in 12 markets, a week after posting strong results with bicoastal exclusive engagements.

The recent market focus on adult moviegoers has left the playing field free of notable competition for Fox's family adventure "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." "Percy" has registered more than $60 million heading into its third frame.

Industrywide, this weekend will be compared with a $112 million session last year marked by the disappointing $13 million bow by Disney's "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert."

So far the year is pacing 3% ahead of 2009 at $1.66 billion.