'Gold' may be a solid investment

Fellow rookie 'Roscoe' battles 'Hannah' encore for 2nd place

How old school: Most moviegoers will have to settle for 2-D this weekend.

A week after 3-D phenom "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" rode a tween tsunami to a No. 1 bow, three more conventional wide openers will attempt to keep the winter boxoffice hot.

Warner Bros.' Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey starrer "Fool's Gold," a PG-13 romantic comedy set for 3,125 playdates, is expected to reach north of $20 million and probably cop the weekend's bragging rights.

"We're strong among females both older and young, and we're strong with teens," Warners exec vp distribution Jeffrey Goldstein said. "So we're looking good with our core audience of females, and we're not doing bad with males."

That latter tidbit from prerelease tracking is important, as it turns "Gold" into more of a date movie.

Hudson offers good guy appeal, of course, but Warners also is emphasizing adventure-film elements in TV spots to market "Gold" as broadly as possible. What guy doesn't like to see boats blow up? Or so the thinking goes.

Elsewhere among the domestic entrants, Universal debuts its Martin Lawrence comedy "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" in 2,385 venues, and Picturehouse unspools its comedy documentary "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show" in 962 locations.

Lawrence always draws beyond his urban base, but just how much "Roscoe" crosses over into mainstream appeal will decide the difference between a three-day gross in the low-teen millions and something rising into the mid- to high teens.

"Wild West," which follows a stand-up comedy tour put together by Vaughn, has gotten decent early reviews and drew a good reception from exhibitors at ShowEast in the fall. But anything higher than teen millions seems unlikely, given its relatively modest release.

Meanwhile, none of the wide openers appears to overlap with sophomore-session competition from "Hannah."

"Hannah" has a good shot at doing more than half as much business this weekend as it did during its opening frame, which featured extensive sellouts. There often is a precipitous drop in the second weekend of the typical concert release, but "Hannah" has performed anything but typically in its 683 digital 3-D playdates.

"It's uncharted territory," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. "Historically, concerts don't hold up very well. And on the other hand, we've had some wonderful (exit poll results)."

Even a 50% second-week hold would see "Hannah" ringing up more than $15 million, which would be good for a third-place finish or maybe even the session's silver medal. Helpfully for Disney, "Hannah" is a good candidate for repeat business from its core constituency of girls ages 9-12.

Disney film group president Mark Zoradi said the decision to offer exhibitors a chance to extend "Hannah" during the coming weekends was made after it became apparent that there was an outsized interest in the barely wide 3-D release. Disney is constrained from broadening the film's playdates, as it already is playing in virtually every digital auditorium in existence except for a handful deemed uncompetitive because of their locations near other digital screens.

"The extra playing time will give more fans a chance to see their favorite performer, (and) it will also accommodate those fans who want to come and enjoy the experience again," Zoradi said.

A spokesman for the Fandango online-ticketing service said strong Sunday orders showed no letup in the huge interest for "Hannah."

Almost one-third of the opening-weekend tickets for "Hannah" were sold by Fandango, which rated the film its best-ever February seller, outdistancing 2004's "The Passion of the Christ." "Hannah" marked the fifth-best opening sales of any title handled by the online ticketer. "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" in May 2005 tops that list.