'Conan,' 'Fright,' 'Kids,' 'One Day' could fall to Disney-DreamWorks drama

A quartet of weekend openers — led by a pair of 3D titles, Lionsgate’s “Conan the Barbarian” and Disney-DreamWorks’ “Fright Night” — should keep overall box office clicking at a steady pace. But don’t expect either pic to overly impress, as Disney’s holdover “The Help” has a solid chance of winning the weekend domestically.

Pre-weekend tracking suggests mid-to-high teens openings for “Conan” and “Fright Night,” both targeted mostly at male auds.

The Weinstein Co.’s 3D kidpic “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” should land somewhere north of $10 million, while Focus Features hopes its femme-driven lit adaptation “One Day” will pull in $6 million-$8 million.

Overseas, Sony’s “The Smurfs” landed atop the B.O. pile last weekend with $60 million. International cume on the live action-toon hybrid is $142 million. “Smurfs” could again play at No. 1 overseas, but “Conan’s” launch in territories including Australia, France, Italy, Russia and Spain may give the film enough oomph to dominate outside the U.S.

Last weekend’s B.O. darling, “The Help,” which bowed at No. 2 with $26 million in three days, could feasibly beat the openers if it holds with a drop in the 30%-35% range — a likely outcome given the pic’s vibrant word of mouth and midweek perfs. The film, with a cume of $47.8 million, adds 156 Stateside locations today.

Twentieth Century Fox’s third-frame holdover “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is expected to fight for second place following the film’s chart-topping $27.8 million perf last weekend. The “Apes” domestic cume is a resilient $115 million through Wednesday.

With the holdovers added to the fresh foursome, Stateside box office should at least keep up with the same frame last year, when “The Expendables” won in its second week with almost $17 million. That weekend there also were four wide releases, though the best of the bunch, “Vampires Suck,” topped out at $12.2 million.

“Fright Night” may have a slight edge over “Conan” since the former film could attract more under-25 women (“Fright Night” also has garnered mostly positive reviews). “Conan” may also draw some femmes, based on the popularity of star Jason Momoa, but it’s unclear just how much pull the actor has.

The weekend’s battle of horror and action isn’t necessarily a case of bad timing for either film: Last August saw “Takers,” which debuted to $20.5 million, edge out “The Last Exorcism,” with $20.4 million.

Both “Conan” and “Fright Night” are vying for 3D runs, along with “Spy Kids,” with “Fright Night” occupying the most 3D engagements at 2,220. “Spy Kids,” launching at 3,295 total playdates, has the fewest 3D locations (roughly 1,300) for a 60%-40% split in favor of 2D; “Conan” has some 2,100 3D locations.

Among the openers, Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess starrer “One Day” will look to the femme market and date crowd, but “Help” should continue to draw plenty of women.

While the most motivated femme moviegoers likely saw “Help” last weekend, the pic has broadened its appeal to both genders, primarily those over 35. (Disney hopes younger filmgoers will find the film this weekend.)

In limited release, IFC bows Sundance buy “Flypaper,” starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd, at two locations in New York and L.A.

The most notable specialty expansions include Weinstein’s “Sarah’s Key” and docu “Senna,” from Producers Distribution Agency. TWC adds 100 locations for “Sarah’s Key,” bringing the pic to a total 201, while “Senna” broadens to 14 engagements from two last weekend. “Sarah’s Key” has done particularly well at arthouses, cuming $2.2 million in four weeks; “Senna” bowed to $73,497.

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