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‘Other Guys’ looks to cuff ‘Inception’

Sony's action-comedy, 'Step Up' among new releases

Sony’s buddy comedy “The Other Guys,” launching today at 3,650 locations, is poised to rouse Warner Bros.’ “Inception” from a three-week dream atop the domestic box office.

“Inception,” which has tallied an impressive $205.5 million in Stateside grosses, has gained a considerable base of repeat moviegoers since its July 16 bow and could continue to play tops among those 25 and over. Younger auds, however, may opt for the frame’s fresher fare, led by “Guys” and Disney’s “Step Up 3D” at 2,435 engagements, of which 1,826 will be 3D-equipped.

Along with Focus Feature’s “The Kids Are All Right,” expanding to 994 engagements this weekend, two other high-profile specialty titles enter the fray today.

Paramount kicks off a robust rollout of Par Vantage title “Middle Men,” toplining Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht, at 252 locations, while Castle Rock’s Rob Reiner-directed coming-of-age story “Flipped,” with Warner distribbing, rolls out this weekend at 45 engagements.

Meanwhile, overseas auds continue to embrace Warner’s “Inception” as it expands beyond key markets in Europe and Asia. This weekend, Warner looks to further the pic’s overseas haul of $171.5 million, adding markets like Brazil and Spain.

In the U.K., moviegoers have embraced “Inception” and Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” in repeat frames, but they may turn out instead for “Step Up 3D,” as it launches there day-and-date with the U.S.

Summit Entertainment, which originated the franchise, handles overseas distribution.

Similar to the Stateside 3D dance version, Blighty’s first digital 3D mainstream feature, “Streetdance 3D,” claimed top coin ($2.6 million) when it debuted May 21 at the U.K. box office.

While Sony’s “Other Guys” waits its turn internationally, the film should draw considerable attention in the U.S., especially among its core younger male demo.

Budgeted at approximately $85 million, “Guys” is the fourth collaboration between star Will Ferrell and helmer Adam McKay. Previously the duo most recently teamed on Sony’s R-rated “Step Brothers,” which bowed to $30.9 million in 2008.

This time around, Ferrell toplines alongside Mark Wahlberg as a pair of New York detectives who stumble across a ho-hum case that could kickstart their careers. Thesps Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson co-star as the film’s elite squad.

Sony said “Other Guys,” which is rated PG-13, should open with a gross similar to that of “Step Brothers,” but likely will fall short of the $40.5 million debut set by “Grown Ups” on June 25. Sony’s earlier male-centric laffer has shown notable resilience in subsequent frames, last week dropping only 34% for a take of $4.5 million. Entering its seventh frame, “Grown Ups” has cumed a hearty $152.7 million.

“Step Up 3D” marks the first 3D installment in Disney/Summit’s popular dance franchise, which has cumed $253.4 million worldwide.

Pic enters an already crowded 3D front, with holdovers “Toy Story 3” and “Despicable Me” still claiming screens. Meanwhile, Warner debuted last weekend its “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” at 2,130 3D locations, which accounted for a solid 55% of the film’s $12.3 million opening take.

Also entering its soph sesh, Par’s “Dinner for Schmucks” and U’s “Charlie St. Cloud” aim to hold steady after middling opening results. “Dinner” opened to $23.5 million, while “Charlie” scored $12.4 million during its debut weekend.

With a slightly older aud evenly split between men and women, “Dinner” could still play alongside “Guys,” which primarily targets younger men. “Dinner” has scored consistent midweek figures, contributing to a cume of $33.5 million through Wednesday; “Charlie’s” totals have reached $17.5 million.

Par’s “Middle Men” tried an unusual marketing strategy — the R-rated pic bought 30-second spots on sites like Youporn and Pornhub to attract auds to the story of entrepreneur Christopher Mallick, who developed the online billing service for adult-oriented Internet sites.

Warner’s more wholesome family tale “Flipped,” toplining youngsters Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, will debut in L.A., Sacramento, Calif., and Austin, Texas. Rob Reiner’s first pic since 2007’s “Bucket List” should play best in Middle America, according to Warners. “Flipped” will expand wide on Aug. 27.

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