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Box office preview: 'Other Guys' targeting the top slot

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other-guysImage Credit: Macall PolayThe Other Guys is not likely to open as big as Talladega Nights, but it should be one of Will Ferrell’s top bows of his career. The film will strike deep into last weekend’s comedy Dinner for Schmucks, likely cutting the film’s opening weekend at least in half. But nothing will stop Inception. The film will lose its first-place standing after three weeks, but after crossing $200 million, there is little that can keep Inception from reaching what could be a $300 million gross. The other new wide release, Disney’s Step Up 3D should also have a respectable bow, with young girls the primary target for the film. Read on for my predictions.

1. The Other Guys: $36 million

Opening in 3,650 theaters, The Other Guys should out-gross Step Brothers, the last project from the duo of director Adam McKay and Ferrell, which bowed in summer 2008 to $30 million. Reviews have been solid and audiences seem to enjoy seeing Mark Wahlberg play against type in the comedy. A strong supporting cast of Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, and Michael Keaton help sell the case too. This film should be a hit for Sony Pictures.

2. Inception: $19 million

Never falling more than 35 percent since it opened in mid-July, Inception has now earned $205 million. Expect it to hit close to $230 after this weekend in theaters, where it will be in second place for this first time since it began its impressive run.

3. Step Up 3D: $18 million

Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets opened to $20 million and $18 million respectively. And that was before So You Think You Can Dance — a show that boasts Step Up 3D producer Adam Shankman as judge — became a popular series. Considering the third iteration of this franchise is in 3-D, you would think the opening weekend would be a lot bigger. Tracking suggests a number in line with the past two films, which means that either there is enough dance on television to keep fans sated or 3-D has already lost its appeal.

4. Dinner for Schmucks: $11 million

The Steve Carell-Paul Rudd laugher has reached $30 million, thanks to decent mid-week numbers. But expect at least a 50 percent — or higher — fall for this movie’s sophomore session. Seems Schmucks has got nothing on the broader-based Other Guys.

5. Salt: $10 million

At $76 million after two weeks in release, Salt is another summer hit for Sony Pictures. Expect a 50 percent fall off this weekend, but the film should still cross the $100 million mark soon.

In limited release, Paramount Vantage is opening Middle Men on 200-some theaters, while Warner Bros. is bowing Rob Reiner’s latest coming-of-age story Flipped in New York and Los Angeles before taking it wide at the end of the month. Patricia Clarkson’s Cairo Time will also make its debut in some five locations this weekend.

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