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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Up" appears poised to achieve the summer's first repeat No. 1 performance at the weekend box office.
A pair of films bowing wide Friday look likely to score solid business, with Universal's Will Ferrell comedy "Land of the Lost" and Warner Bros.' R-rated comedy "The Hangover" targeting distinct audiences and offering upbeat appeal of the sort moviegoers have been supporting all year. But Disney/Pixar's 3-D-animated feature, which ruled the box office last weekend with a $68 million debut, could outperform both new releases; it looks likely to fetch $35 million or more in its sophomore session.
Rated "PG-13," "Lost" is a family-targeted adventure comedy perhaps best described as "Jurassic Park" meets "Saturday Night Live." Marketing tie-ins with Subway and others should help broaden awareness among prospective moviegoers, but "Lost" -- which unspools in 3,522 locations -- is likely to perform much like other Farrell movies.
The "SNL" alum's previous films have tended to open around $30 million, with Ferrell marking a personal best in August 2006 with the $47 million bow of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." An effects-laden sendup of dino pics produced for an estimated $100 million, "Lost" appears likely to bow just north of $30 million.
Universal executives said they don't expect the opening to be significantly affected by downbeat early reviews. "If you like Will Ferrell, you'll have a blast with the film," distribution president Nikki Rocco said.
Directed by Brad Silberling ("Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"), "Lost" was produced by Ferrell's manager, Jimmy Miller, along with Sid and Marty Krofft, whose low-budget sci-fi television series from the 1970s was the basis for the film. Danny McBride ("Observe and Report") and Anna Friel ("Pushing Daisies") co-star, and the screenplay was written by sitcom vet Chris Henchy and former "SNL" writer Dennis McNicholas.
"Hangover" has an ensemble cast topped by Bradley Cooper ("He's Just Not That Into You") and Ed Helms ("The Office"). But director Todd Phillips, whose 2004 action comedy "Starksy & Hutch" was a $170 million worldwide grosser, represents the movie's main draw.
Phillips developed his big-screen comedy cred with "Road Trip" and "Old School," theatrical overacheivers in 2000 and 2003, respectively. His last film underperformed a bit, as 2006's "School for Scoundrels" opened with just $8.6 million domestically and rung up less than $24 million in worldwide box office.
But prerelease buzz on "Hangover" has been strong, and a sequel already is planned. The film should open just above or below $20 million and nab third place for the session.
"We look for the movie to have a long and healthy run throughout the summer," Warners distribution boss Dan Fellman said.
An additional wide release set for Friday -- Fox Searchlight's Nia Vardalos comedy "My Life in Ruins" -- is unlikely to compete for the top rankings. With 1,164 playdates and soft prerelease interest, it is projected to bow in the low- to mid-single-digit millions.
Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters