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Movie-theater operators and film distributors alike already are salivating over Turkey Day.
By industry convention, next weekend will be treated as a three-day box-office session. But if there is any doubt that the Thanksgiving holiday creates a box-office feast running from midweek through Sunday, consider that four wide openers unspool Wednesday with aims of stuffing a combined $100 million into domestic registers through Sunday.
A distinctly-targeted quartet, the market debutantes include:
- Disney’s 3D animated adventure Tangled, which should corral most family patrons while posting a No. 1 debut with $25 million or more for the weekend and up to $40 million for the Wednesday-Sunday span;
- Sony’s female-oriented musical Burlesque — starring Christina Aguilera and Cher — which should fetch low teen millions in weekend box office and reach at least the high teens through its first five days;
- Fox’s date movie of a romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, which should cop $13 million or more in Friday-Sunday coin and perhaps $17 million from the longer period; and
- CBS Films’ guys-seeking Dwayne Johnson starrer Faster, similarly speeding toward a sum in the low teen millions for the weekend and a five-day cume in the high teens.
A retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale — with Mandy Moore providing the voice of the long-haired princess — Tangled is getting the widest release of any of the market entrants with more than 3,500 playdates, including 2,400-plus 3D locations. But Tangled will have to settle for silver-medal in the weekend’s box-office competition, as Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is still going strong and should easily repeat atop the domestic heap.
Hallows rang up $125 million in its first weekend and could do up to half as well in its sophomore session.
Disney execs figure tots with parents as the core audience for Tangled.
“It may skew female going into it, but there is no question that it’s going to play much broader than people may expect,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said.
Sony says the perception of Burlesque as a chick flick is misleading.
“It’s primary audience is girls and women, there’s no doubt about it,” Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer said. “But I’ve yet to meet a guy who saw the movie who doesn’t also like.”
Fox distribution boss Bruce Snyder hopes the guys will like Love as much as the gals.
“That could be the advantage of being a date-night movie,” Snyder said.
Faster is CBS Films’ first release since The Back-Up Plan unspoiled last April.
“We are back in action, and The Rock is back in action,” CBS Films distribution boss Steven Friedlander enthused.
Also this weekend, the Weinstein Co. unspools early awards candidate The King’s Speech with exclusive engagements in New York and L.A.
And Freestyle will release The Nutcracker in 3D in 41 locations.
Last year, the industry rang up $186 million in a post-Thanksgiving weekend topped by the $42.9 million sophomore session of vampire sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Disney comedy Old Dogs was the frame’s top wide opener with $16.9 million in Friday-Sunday coin.
Year to date, box office is pacing roughly 2% ahead of a similar portion of 2009, at $9.4 billion.
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