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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Russell Crowe rides into movie theaters on Friday with "Robin Hood," but "Iron Man 2" should score a second weekend as the top film in North America.
Marvel/Paramount's "Iron 2" will likely ring up $50 million-plus, while tracking surveys have Universal's "Robin Hood" bowing in the $40 million-$45 million range.
Crowe's last big movie, "American Gangster," opened to about $44 million in November 2007. He struck out subsequently with "Body of Lies" and "State of Play."
Universal insists that tax credits on the U.K. production kept its tab to $155 million despite reports of higher figures. In the wake of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, "Robin" opens simultaneously around the world, with studio executives expecting a significantly foreign-weighted global bow.
Early reviews have been mostly positive though hardly fervid.
"The target audience is across the board, but the strongest interest is with older and younger males," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said.
Other wide openers Friday include Summit Entertainment's female-targeting "Letters to Juliet," a wannabe crowd-pleaser of a romantic drama -- provided it's a mostly female crowd.
Summit produced the picture for an estimated $30 million and presold foreign territories heavily to offset its cost exposure. "Letters," starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave, should earn in the mid-teen millions through Sunday.
Fox Searchlight's romantic comedy "Just Wright," starring Queen Latifah, Common and Pam Grier, is tracking best with urban moviegoers and should open with $8 million-$10 million. The art-house studio spent slightly more than $12 million to produce the picture.