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Box Office Preview: Spring Cleaning

April 27, 2012

This weekend at the cineplex it’s the calm before the start of the Summer Movie Season…4 new wide releases join the fray:

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt have a Five-Year Engagement (reviews); John Cusack is writer Edgar Allan Poe on the trail of a killer in The Raven (reviews); Jason Statham plays it Safe (reviews) in another action pic; Meet the CG animated Pirates! Band of Misfits (reviews)

Gregg Kilday of THR:

With four new wide releases hitting theaters this weekend, Hollywood is staging something of a spring clearance before the first of the presumptive summer blockbusters, The Avengers, descends on the multiplex the following weekend, May 4.

Of the new entries, Universal’s romantic comedy The Five-Year Engagement is showing the most box-office potential, although it’s not expected to dislodge Sony/Screen Gems’ Think Like a Man from the top spot that it claimed when it opened last weekend to $33.6 million.

The R-rated Engagement, which is opening in 2,936 theaters in North America, is looking to attract younger females with an opening in the low-teen million dollar range. That would probably put it in the second spot, since even if Man, the African-American ensemble comedy directed by Tim Story, falls by 50%, it would still gross a figure in the high-teen millions.

Engagement, a $30-million production on which Universal partnered with Relativity, re-unites many of the principals from 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which opened to $17.7 million. Once again, Jason Segel stars – this time teaming up with Emily Blunt as they play a couple enduring a long-term engagement. Segel, who wrote Marshall, co-wrote Engagement with Nicholas Stoller, who directed the new movie just as he directed Marshall. The comedy also bears the imprimatur of the prolific Judd Apatow, who served as one of its producers.

In a play for younger audiences, Sony is taking over 3,358 theaters, the widest opening of the weekend, for its PG-rated animated movie The Pirates! Band of Misfits. From Britain’s Aardman Animations, which created last year’s Arthur Christmas, the movie features a voice cast that includes Hugh Grant as its Pirate Captain and Salma Hayek as Cutlass Liz. The movie also is expected to open in the low-teen million range, which could be quite crowded since Warners’ romance The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, which opened to $22.5 million last weekend, should also occupy the low-teen million territory in its second weekend.

Likely to debut in the $8-10 million range is The Raven, from Relativity, which will set down in 2,203 locations. The R-rated movie directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) stars John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. In the period thriller, the writer is drafted to help pursue a serial killer who is taking cues from Poe’s own stories.

Rounding out the new arrivals is the new Jason Statham action movie Safe, from writer/director Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans). In his newest R-rating outing, set in New York, Statham plays a former black-ops supercop trying to protect a young Chinese girl from pursuing Russian and Chinese gangsters. Statham’s last film, Killer Elite, opened to $9.3 million last September, and this new one, which Lionsgate is releasing in 2,266 theaters, is expected to bow in the $6-8 million range

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