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‘Dragon’ should top ‘Back-Up Plan’ at box office

Spring break is a quickly fading memory and summer vacation still seems far away. If it feels like the doldrums at your house, movie theater owners share your despair.

The year’s first presumed blockbuster — Paramount Pictures’ and Marvel Entertainment’s “Iron Man 2" — doesn’t open for two more weeks, and it’s likely that none of the new movies in wide release this weekend, including the romantic comedy “The Back-Up Plan” with Jennifer Lopez, will make much of a splash, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys.

The likely winner at the box office is DreamWorks Animation’s and Paramount’s holdover “How to Train Your Dragon,” which could gross about $14 million for the weekend. It should narrowly surpass another holdover, the Lionsgate action film “Kick-Ass,” and the debut of “Back-Up Plan.”

The 3-D “Dragon” opened below expectations March 26, but the movie about a misfit boy and his oversized pet has held up strongly, grossing $161.8 million so far in the U.S. and Canada.

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“Kick-Ass,” the R-rated comic book adaptation, narrowly beat “Dragon” last weekend (grossing $19.8 million) and has been the No. 1 film during the last week. Given that momentum, “Kick-Ass” could gross about $12 million this weekend, which puts it in the middle of the fight for the No. 2 spot.

Some forecasters say the initial weekend for CBS Films’ “Back Up-Plan” might be as abysmal as that of the young studio’s first feature (January’s “Extraordinary Measures” with Harrison Ford, which barely grossed $12 million in its entire theatrical run, after opening to $6 million). The $35-million budgeted “Back-Up Plan” also should gross about $12 million in its debut weekend.

The movie, about a woman who finds true love just as she is artificially inseminated, is drawing reasonably good interest from women. An unexpected number of younger girls are also inclined to see the PG-13 film. Early reviews have been harsh, which could dent the turnout of older moviegoers.

Warner Bros. is releasing “The Losers,” a $25-million DC comic book adaptation financed by producer Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment. The movie, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Zoe Saldana, is strongest among 20-something men, but it’s not on everybody’s radar and may lose ticket sales to “Kick-Ass.” Early reviews are mostly favorable, and an opening around $10 million looks possible.

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Disney introduced its environmental documentary “Oceans” on Thursday. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, the well-reviewed movie was timed to premiere on Earth Day. Last year the studio tried the same strategy with “Earth,” which opened to $8.8 million and ultimately grossed more than $32 million. “Oceans” should open to about $5 million, not counting its Thursday grosses.

john.horn@latimes.com


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