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'Shrek' bows to $20 million Friday; 'MacGruber' fizzles

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shrek-4Image Credit: DreamworksIs it ogre for the Shrek franchise? According to Friday’s numbers, things are not looking nearly as rosy as prognosticators originally thought. While a $20 million Friday is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not even close to the number needed for the animated flick to reach $100 million, as most believed it would. More likely, the fourth installment in this $1 billion franchise will gross $70 million for the weekend, far short of the $122 million that Shrek the Third grossed its opening weekend, and that film didn’t boast the higher 3-D ticket prices. According to the tracking numbers, Shrek Forever After was looking like an $80 million opening, but industry insiders were much more bullish on the film crossing the $100 million mark as its two predecessors did. Perhaps the PG-rated movie will surprise today and tomorrow, but it’s now close to impossible that the fourth installment of this animated juggernaut will reach the heights originally predicted.

MacGruber has also disappointed. The R-rated spoof based on Will Forte’s Saturday Night Live character took in a meager $1.5 million Friday and will have to fight holdover Just Wright for a fifth slot in the weekend derby. The film, financed by Relativity Media and released by Universal Pictures in a service deal, is unlikely to cross the $5 million mark for the three-day period.

The rest of the films in the top five are destined to belong to the holdovers. Iron Man 2 is likely to fall another 50 percent in its third weekend in release. Its Friday number stands at just under $8 million, which could mean close to $27 million for the weekend and over $250 million total. Robin Hood is also looking at a 50 percent drop. The movie grossed a little over $5 million on Friday, on track for $18 million for the frame. And spot four is likely to belong to Letters to Juliet. This heartfelt romance actually seems to have the best hold of all the returning films. Starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave, the PG-rated film took in a little under $3 million Friday night, for a three-day gross that should total $9 million, a solid 40 percent hold for the weekend.

Check back tomorrow for a full report.