"Semi-Pro" a slam dunk for box office crown
By Carl DiOrio
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Semi-Pro" looks as if it could be a full-on hit.
Will Ferrell's basketball comedy opens in more than 3,000 theaters across the United States and Canada via New Line Cinema on Friday, and is expected to score in the $30 million range for the weekend.
His skating spoof "Blades of Glory," opened to $33 million in March 2007, and finished with $118.6 million. The year before, Ferrell's NASCAR outing "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," drove off with $47 million, and crossed the finish line with $148.2 million.
Two other wide releases "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Penelope," are unlikely to make it out of the single-digit millions.
"The Other Boleyn Girl" stars Scarlett Johansson as the sister of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, played by Natalie Portman. The Sony costume drama, which recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, is likely to earn $8 million-$9 million from about 1,165 theaters. The likelihood is that women will show good interest in the royal soap, but men will be less aroused.
The Christina Ricci romantic fantasy "Penelope" will be chasing many of the same prospective moviegoers. The Summit Entertainment release is expected to gross about $5 million from about 1,200 theaters.
Elsewhere during this first post-Oscars weekend, Miramax will double the playdates for its best picture winner "No Country for Old Men" to slightly more than 2,000 runs. Toting a domestic haul of $65 million, "No Country" should figure in top 10 rankings for the first time in more than two months.
Last weekend's champ, Sony's political thriller "Vantage Point," looks likely to compete strongly for a medal-position finish. If the Dennis Quaid vehicle can ring up even 50% of its opening grosses from a week ago, it would see more than $11 million during its second session.
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