The much buzzed-about Judd Apatow-produced comedy Pineapple Express (Sony) got high on Wednesday. Very high. With co-writer and star Seth Rogen and a breakout comic performance for James Franco, Express rode to a stunning $12.15M on opening day. That will likely translate to a a five-day of $42M-$45M, well above industry expectations. Amazingly, the movie was budgeted at only $27M, so this will be a wildly profitable film for Sony.
The battle for No. 1 in the traditional three-day box office battle now becomes very interesting. Pineapple Express is rated-R and is aimed at Males Under 25. Tomorrow night’s Beijing Olympics opening ceremony will unlikey put a dent in the weed-filled fun, and it appears that the new Sony release can reach $27M-$30M for the Friday-thourgh-Sunday period. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) softened a bit Wednesday, finishing with an estimated $5.1M. I am now pegging the $400M+ blockbuster for a $24M-$27M weekend and a No. 2 finish.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) was No. 2 on Wednesday with an estimated $5.7M. That is also better that most studio execs were expecting. Again, with the Olympics providing no real competition for this “girl power” picture skewing to Females Under 25, the weekend should be very healthy. I am projecting a five-day of $22M-$25M and a 3-day of $17M-$20M, almost certainly finishing No. 3 ahead of the fast-fading The Mummy 3 (Universal).