Lots of competish for males; 'ParaNorman' in very wide opening

Even though it’s the third adult male-targeted film released in as many weeks, “The Expendables 2″ should easily muscle its way to the top of the domestic B.O., with weekend expectations tracking north of $30 million for the star-packed Lionsgate sequel.

But holdover actioners “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Total Recall” and “The Bourne Legacy” could stunt potential upside.

Bowing wider than “The Expendables” (3,316 locations), stop-motion 3D toon “ParaNorman” has secured 3,429 Stateside engagements in the widest berth ever for a film from distrib Focus Features. “ParaNorman” — toon studio Laika’s follow-up to 2009′s “Coraline,” which debuted to $16.8 million — is expected to gross $17 million-$19 million through Sunday.

Sony’s retro tuner “Sparkle” is similarly expected to land in the high teens; Disney’s midweek family entry “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” which earned $2.3 million Wednesday, should take about $10 million from Friday to Sunday.

Overseas, Universal’s “The Bourne Legacy” expands to Australia, Spain and the U.K., while U is also releasing “Expendables 2″ this weekend in Russia. The ensemble actioner also bows day-and-date in Italy and Mexico.

Weekend domestic totals should surpass B.O. this time last year, when holdovers “The Help” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” led.

“Expendables 2″ launches the weekend after its 2010 predecessor, which debuted to $34.8 million and wound up with a muscular domestic cume of $103.1 million. The sequel is expected to match the original’s opening. Anything higher depends on whether adult men have had their fill of the movies lately. Women, meanwhile, could be attracted to the pic’s beefy ensemble, which includes franchise newcomers Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Liam Hemsworth.

Lionsgate acquired North American and U.K. rights to the sequel for $35 million, with Millennium Films co-producing.

Pre-weekend tracking for “ParaNorman” popped among Hispanic auds, as well as fanboys and film buffs. However, with 80% of kids still out of school this week, family auds should provide the bulk of the toon’s weekend debut. “Timothy Green,” which stars Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner, also will attract mostly families, but that pic is also drawing considerable interest from women comparable to that for “Hope Springs.”

Focus positioned “ParaNorman” to play through Labor Day weekend, before Disney launches the 3D retread of “Finding Nemo” on Sept. 14.

Sony’s “Sparkle” looks to cross over to filmgoers beyond African-Americans based on the appeal of the late Whitney Houston in her last screen role. The tuner, which also stars “American Idol” champ Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke and Cee-Lo Green, is a remake of the 1976 cult fave about three singer sisters in 1960s Motown.

U’s “Bourne Legacy” has done OK during midweeks, cuming nearly $50 million domestically through Wednesday. Pic should drop considerably (at least 60%) with “Expendables” entering the market. Competing against “Bourne” last weekend, “Total Recall” fell 69% in its second Stateside outing; cume is $47 million Stateside.

The specialty B.O. is packed with newcomers: Cohen Media Group’s Brit period thriller “The Awakening” leads the pack at 70 Stateside engagements.

Starting out this weekend exclusively in New York, Samuel Goldwyn’s Sundance sci-fi pic “Robot and Frank,” toplining Frank Langella, and Sony Pictures Classics’ French-lingo “Chicken With Plums” bow at two locations each. E1′s David Cronenberg pic “Cosmopolis,” starring Robert Pattinson, launches today at three.

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