Movie projector: ‘No Strings Attached’ going up against ‘Green Hornet’


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With the male-skewing action comedy ‘The Green Hornet’ currently dominating the box office, Paramount Pictures is hoping to take the top spot with a movie aimed at young women.

Paramount’s Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman romantic comedy ‘No Strings Attached’ is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend and is generating solid interest among females under 25, according to pre-release surveys.


People who have seen the data said that ‘No Strings’ should open to about $20 million, a decent start given that the picture cost only about $25 million. It was co-financed by Paramount, Spyglass Entertainment and Cold Spring Pictures.

Marketing for the film, about a young couple attempting to have a sexual but non-romantic relationship, is not attracting (surprise!) many men, according to surveys. That’s good news for last weekend’s No. 1 movie, Sony Pictures’ ‘Green Hornet,’ which drew a primarily male audience.

Following ‘Green Hornet’s’ solid-although-not-spectacular $33.5 million debut, the big-budget 3-D action-comedy probably will see ticket sales fall by about half, putting it a bit behind projections for ‘No Strings.’ As of Wednesday, ‘Green Hornet,’ which stars Seth Rogen, has grossed $43.7 million domestically.

Universal Pictures also will be closely watching the second weekend performance of its Vince Vaughn-Kevin James comedy ‘The Dilemma.’ Following a soft opening of $17.8 million last weekend, the studio is hoping that good word-of-mouth will lead to a drop in box office sales of less than 40%, not uncommon for movies like ‘The Dilemma’ that draw a primarily adult female audience.

In limited release this weekend, The Weinstein Co. debuts ‘Company Men,’ a drama about the impact of layoffs that stars Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones. The film, which marks the feature directorial debut of TV writer and producer John Wells (‘The West Wing,’ ‘E.R.’), had a one-week run in December to qualify for the 2011 Academy Awards.

-- Ben Fritz