Box Office Preview: 'Hall Pass' just the ticket

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN - For The Associated Press
February 24, 2011
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In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros., Jenna Fischer, left, and Christina Applegate are shown in a scene from, "Hall Pass." (AP PHoto/Warner Bros., Peter Iovino)

The Farrelly brothers will work their comedy magic and give Warner Bros. its second weekend at the top of the box office chart with the R-rated "Hall Pass," expected to debut in the $17 million to $19 million range.

In keeping with the Farrelly brothers' reputation for raunchy comedy with a heart, Owen Wilson stars as a married man whose wife gives him permission to behave like a single man, have an affair and act very unmarried. Of course, he takes a buddy played by "Saturday Night Live's" Jason Sudeikis along for the ride.

Disney's "Gnomeo and Juliet" will continue to reap the benefits of being the only family animated film in wide release and sustain yet another small weekend-over-weekend drop that will likely put it in second place with a gross in the mid-teens on its third weekend.

But the little Gnomes will need to beware of the ever-intimidating Liam Neeson, whose No. 1 Presidents weekend debut in Warner Bros.' "Unknown" reestablished the star's reputation as a viable action hero. The PG-13 action revenge tale has been posting solid midweek numbers, so expect a second-weekend gross in the $12 million to $15 million range.

Disney's suspense thriller "I am Number Four" is looking at a second weekend gross of $10 million to $12 million. The film is benefiting from IMAX showings, which gave a 13 percent boost to last weekend's receipts.

In a slugfest for fifth place, the tenacious Justin Bieber will take on a very angry Nicolas Cage in Summit Entertainment's "Drive Angry." A new version of "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" that boasts additional footage will bring the teen girls back for more and give it an enhanced box office potential in the $10 million range.

At the other end of the spectrum is Summit's very R-rated, 3-D action fantasy "Drive Angry," directed by Patrick Lussier, who edited the first three films of the "Scream" horror franchise. Cage brings his own special brand of humor to "Drive Angry" and the opening gross is estimated to be in the $10 million range after the actor debuted to a similar response last month in "Season of the Witch."


Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of and a longtime box office analyst for The Associated Press.