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‘Hansel and Gretel’ hunts for crumbs

Relativity's 'Movie 43,' FilmDistrict's 'Parker' also open wide at B.O.

Teens turned out in force last weekend, helping Universal’s PG-13-rated “Mama” overperform. That will be a tough repeat for Paramount-MGM’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” which is unlikely to break beyond its low-$20 million projections, shackled by a more restrictive R rating.

Hansel and Gretel,” the $50-million highly stylized 3D re-telling of the classic fairy tale, has clear teen appeal but some observers suggest a robust market lately could boost the pic’s prospects, especially among over-25 auds.

Still, a bow in the $20 millions would be enough for “Hansel” to win the weekend as the two other wide openers, Relativity Media’s “Movie 43” and FilmDistrict’s “Parker,” are unlikely to reach double digits.

Movie 43,” an R-rated raunchy omnibus laffer, has the best odds to overperform, though it’ll not reach much higher than $10 million in three days. Meanwhile, the Jason Statham actioner — also rated R — will be lucky to hit high-single digits.

As for the weekend’s most promising holdovers, including Oscar nominees “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” none are likely to exceed $20 million domestically through Sunday. Exhibs were encouraged enough by last weekend’s overperformance of “Silver Linings” to add more than 100 locations, for a total of 2,641. “Zero Dark Thirty,” which lost 17 playdates this weekend, nears $60 million Stateside; likewise, “Silver Linings” has cumed $58.5 million domestically.

“Mama” could hold better than expected as it is still the only PG-13-rated wide release in the market. The chiller scored a solid $30 million-plus four-day opening last weekend, of which teens contributed a healthy 35%.

By comparison, Par originally had slated “Hansel” to bow last March, but bumped the pic to January 11, to convert the pic to 3D, which totals approximately 2,900 locations this weekend (including 300 Imax). The studio moved the pic again to allow for the Imax release.

The January bow ultimately should be OK for the film, added to its the international rollout, which began last weekend in Russia with a chart-topping $7.3 million locally. Par expands “Hansel” to a number of markets this weekend, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Elsewhere internationally, Fox should continue to see strong results for “Life of Pi,” as it expands the film to Japan. “Pi” crossed the $400 million overseas mark on Wednesday, with more than $500 million worldwide.

Fox’s other international player, “Lincoln,” broadens to Brazil, Germany, Italy, Russia and the U.K. Pic kickstarted its overseas rollout last weekend, earning $2.9 million from Spain and Mexico.

Back in the States, the modest projected bows for “Movie 43” and “Parker” won’t necessarily break either pic given modest production costs and foreign presales: “Movie 43,” which cost $6 million to produce (and already has earned $8.5 million in Russia), profits from a lucrative Netflix deal and presales, as does the $30-million “Parker” based on Statham’s offshore aud appeal.

There are only a handful of coastal bows at this weekend’s specialty B.O., including IFC’s drama “Knife Fight” at two locations. Music Box’s docu “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” co-directed by Werner Herzog, bows at Gotham’s IFC Center; indie comedy “John Dies at the End,” from Magnolia, opens today at the Nuart in L.A.

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