'Hall Pass' on track to win weekend box office

Updated: 2011-02-25 14:52


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LOS ANGELES  - The Farrelly brothers' R-rated comedy "Hall Pass" is on track to win the weekend box office race, while Paramount's Insurge Pictures releases an updated version of "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" in a maverick move designed to encourage repeat viewing.

"Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director's Fan Cut," boasting 40 minutes of new footage, will only play in 3D theaters. Movie's gross ticket sales are a healthy $52.9 million as it heads into its third weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters. The original version will continue to play in regular theaters.

Box office tracking figures show "Hall Pass," starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, opening in the mid- to high-teens, a solid start for the siblings. Warner Bros. debuts the New Line film in 2,950 theaters.

There's less interest in Nicolas Cage's supernatural action picture "Drive Angry 3D."

Summit Entertainment is releasing "Drive Angry" in the U.S. for Avi Lerner's Nu Image/Millennium Films. The film goes out in 2,061 locations in the U.S., of which 2012 are 3D runs.

Both "Hall Pass" and "Drive Angry" should draw a heavily male audience, although "Hall Pass" is showing some traction among younger females.

"Hall Pass" also starring Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate and Richard Jenkins is the Farrellys' first movie since "The Heartbreak Kid" in 2007 and tells the story of two men whose wives give them permission to go on vacation from their marriage for one week.

Also starring Amber Heard, "Drive Angry" stars Cage as a man who breaks out of hell to prevent the cult that murdered his daughter from sacrificing his infant granddaughter.

"Drive Angry" could end up in a battle for No. 2 with holdovers "Unknown," "Gnomeo & Juliet" and possibly "I Am Number Four."

Summit is projecting an opening gross in the high single digits, or low teens, for "Drive Angry."

With the Academy Awards on Sunday, Oscar contenders could see healthy business on Friday and Saturday as moviegoers rush to see films they've missed. (The Oscar ceremony itself could take a bite out of the box office Sunday evening.)

A healthy number of award movies have prospered at this year, both domestically and overseas.

"The King's Speech" has grossed $236.2 million worldwide, followed by "The Social Network" at $222.8 million. "Black Swan" has earned $203.7 million, while "True Grit" should jump the $200 million mark this weekend ("True Grit's" global ticket sales through Wednesday were $198.3 million).

Among specialty openers, Sony Pictures Classics debuts acclaimed French drama "Of Gods and Men" in 33 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal. Film, which premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, has grossed $31.7 million overseas, including more than $27 million in France.


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