"2012" set to explode at box office

Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:13pm EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The end of the world starts Friday.

Sony's apocalyptic actioner "2012," toting a $200 million production cost and hefty marketing expenses, is opening in 105 global territories simultaneous with its domestic debut.

A three-day North American haul in the $55 million-$65 million range looks doable, judging from tracking surveys. But the film's 158-minute running time could restrict the number of daily screenings.

Directed by Roland Emmerich ("The Day After Tomorrow") and starring John Cusack and Woody Harrelson, the effects-laden picture is stirring up broad interest, with male teens displaying the most fervent must-see sentiment.

Early reviews have praised its splashy digital disaster scenes, if not its more pedestrian script, and Sony execs are cautiously optimistic about opening prospects for "2012."

Also Friday, "Pirate Radio" sets sail in about 900 theaters across North America, following a disappointing foreign campaign. The Focus Feature comedy, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a colorful DJ, looks headed for a bow in the low- to mid-single-digit millions.

Produced for a reported $50 million, the film grossed $28.3 million internationally during the summer, including $10.1 million in Britain. It was written and directed by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually").

Elsewhere, Lionsgate expands the gritty, inspirational drama "Precious" to five additional markets after an auspicious debut in four cities the previous weekend. The studio is eyeing a November 20 national rollout.

<p>Cast member John Cusack (R) and Sony Corporation Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Howard Stringer (C) interact with others at the premiere of the film "2012" at Regal Cinemas LA Live in downtown Los Angeles November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>