'Shutter Island' likely to top boxoffice

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VIDEO: Scorsese film looks to open with $25 mil-$30 mil

The year's first tentpole release hits theaters Friday as Paramount unspools Martin Scorsese's Leonardo DiCaprio starrer "Shutter Island."

The film was bumped from its previous holiday release slot, and the studio has been seeking to stir must-see interest amid positive early reviews for the R-rated suspense thriller. And with a longish running time of two hours, 18 minutes and production costs totaling at least $75 million, execs will be anxious to open "Island" with a broad base of support.

Prerelease tracking surveys show strongest interest among older males, with younger males the second-best area of support despite DiCaprio's traditional draw with women. Barring an eleventh-hour spike in female interest, an opening of $25 million-$30 million appears likely.

Produced by Phoenix Pictures, "Island" co-stars Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley.

Elsewhere, industryites will be watching for whether Warner Bros.' "Valentine's Day" will wilt like so many vased roses. Certainly, it's hard to see the romantic comedy repeating at No. 1, despite a star-studded ensemble cast even bigger than that of "Island."

Prior to its release, most pegged the holiday-tagged "Valentine's" as a one-week wonder that would struggle over the longer haul. But after opening with record boxoffice during a weekend boasting both the titular and Presidents Day holidays, the film has posted decent midweek grosses and could display surprising traction.

Fox's "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" should continue to do well because of little family film competition and a tendency for family pics to maintain a stronger market hold than other releases. Opening support for "Percy" proved broader than expected, but that shouldn't hurt playability.

Both "Valentine's" and "Percy" appear headed for second-frame hauls of $20 million or so.

Universal's Benicio Del Toro starrer "The Wolfman" will try to prove critics and other naysayers wrong by posting a better sophomore session than might be expected for a pic drawing an average C+ rating from patrons polled by CinemaScore during its opening weekend.

Still, "Wolfman" rung up an even flow of business through the holiday-stretched frame, including a 10% second-day uptick. So word-of-mouth might prove better than expected, allowing the horror redo to follow its relatively strong debut with a leggy enough run to recoup production costs reportedly totaling $110 million or more.

Friday's limited openers include Summit Entertainment's political thriller "The Ghost Writer," from director Roman Polanski, in two Los Angeles theaters and two in New York.

Industrywide, the weekend will be compared with last year's $142 million frame topped by the $41 million opening of Lionsgate's Tyler Perry comedy "Madea Goes to Jail."

The 2010 boxoffice is off to a good start, with $1.49 billion in industry coin, or almost 6% more than rung up during a similar span last year.