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B.O.: 'Pineapple Express' Likely to Grab $35M for 5 Days

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Aug 06, 2008 | 5:21am EDT

Whereas The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) was an underdog to win last weekend versus The Mummy 3 (Universal), I am installing the Christopher Nolan-directed comic book adaptation as the betting favorite to win both the traditional 3-day and the Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day frames this weekend--although it could be close.

Two new movies are opening Wednesday (August 6) in the hopes of getting a jump on the Friday night Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. NBC’s prime-time coverage over the next 3 weeks will smartly feature many of the high profile swimming events, including those featuring Michael Phelps, and gymnastics, with Shawn Johnson’s pursuit of the Women’s All-Around, but the Olympics have begun to increasingly skew 25 Plus. Given that, both Sony and Warner Bros have picked a good spot for their respective releases.

Pineapple Express, Sony’s R-rated stoner comedy, is aimed at Males Under 25, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a youth-oriented chick flick from Warner Bros, is reaching for Females Under 25. I do not believe, however, that the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, including a celebration of the history of Chinese culture, will do much to dampen the box office performance of these 2 new releases.

The Judd Apatow-produced Pineapple Express looks very solid in industry tracking, especially with the big money young male demo, and this marijuana-fueled comedy has an outside chance to upset The Dark Knight. Both movies are likely to finish in the same range with a traditional 3-day of $24M-$29M and a Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day of $35M-$40M. Ultimately, I suspect that the Caped Crusader will defeat the Seth Rogen/James Franco toker jokefest, but Express will be a strong #2.

Pants 2 is the probable 3rd-place finisher for the weekend. The 2005 original opened on a Wednesday and managed a 3-day of $9.83M and a Wednesday-thru-Sunday of $13.57M. The modestly-budgeted, good-hearted “girl power” movie went on to $39M domestic. This sequel will enjoy a big step up at the box office.

With America Ferrera, now a star thanks to Ugly Betty, Alexis BledelBlake Lively and Amber Tamblyn all returning, the new Traveling Pants seems destined to break $20M for the 5-day with something in the $19M-$22M range. The 3-day weekend should be $13M-$16M.

The Mummy 3 (Universal) will suffer a severe drop with a $13M-$16M Friday-thru-Sunday and something near $20M for 5-days. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor fell apart on Monday with just $4.24M, and that suggests a 65%+ drop-off from the film’s $44.7M 3-day opening.

FINAL 3-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 8-10

1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $28M

2. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $25M

3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) - $15.5M

4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $14.75M

5. Step Brothers (Sony) - $8.5M

6. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $7.5M

7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) - $4.5M

8. Swing Vote (Disney) - $3.7M

9. WALL-E (Disney) - $2.9M

10. Hancock (Sony) - $2.7M

FINAL 5-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 6-10

1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $37.6M

2. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $35M

3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) - $21.5M

4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $21M

5. Step Brothers (Sony) - $11.6M

6. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $11.2M

7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) - $6.65M

8. Swing Vote (Disney) - $5.2M

9. WALL-E (Disney) - $4.3M

10. Hancock (Sony) - $3.8M

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