Sony has no illusions as to which film (ahem, “Man of Steel”) will win the weekend, hence the early launch of its R-rated comedy “This Is the End,” which bows Tuesday night starting at 7 p.m. at 2,000-plus locations.
In five days, “This Is the End,” which expands Wednesday to 3,055 Stateside engagements, could gross somewhere in the low-to-mid $30 millions. “Man of Steel,” meanwhile, is projected to land on either side of $100 million from Friday to Sunday.
“This Is the End” should turn a tidy profit for Sony, which hit a rough patch recently with “After Earth” tanking. Rogen also makes his directing debut, co-helming with his producing partner Evan Goldberg.
The laffer, which features comedy stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill (essentially) playing themselves, cost just $32 million to produce (not including marketing), and could easily top grosses for star-driven tentpoles like “After Earth” and “Oblivion.”
Not only is “This Is the End” apocalyptic-themed like several other pics this summer, but it’s one of three R-rated doomsday laffers, including Focus Features’ “The World’s End” (on August 23) and Lionsgate’s “Rapture-Palooza,” which bowed day-and-date theatrically and on video-on-demand June 7.
Sony launches “This Is the End” throughout June internationally, beginning in the U.K. next weekend.
Sony screened the film extensively garnering strong audience word-of-mouth. The pic even has also scored with critics, rating 80% on RottenTomatoes.com.
The most direct box office comparison for “This Is the End” is Paramount-DreamWorks’ 2008 hit comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which debuted with $25.8 million in three days and wound up cuming north of $110 million domestically.