Teenage girls are likely to drive the top movie at the box office this weekend as a quartet of low-budget movies debut.
High school comedy "Easy A" is expected to be the most popular movie in the U.S. and Canada, said people who have seen pre-release polls of potential audiences. It probably will come in slightly ahead of Ben Affleck's crime drama "The Town" and horror film "Devil," and far outpace the 3-D animated family adventure "Alpha and Omega," which is debuting with minimal interest.
"Easy A," a comedic take on the classic novel "The Scarlet Letter," is the least-expensive film opening this weekend with a production cost of about $8 million. Therefore distributor Sony Pictures and its Screen Gems genre label should be in very good shape if it opens as expected. Although several executives who closely follow box office predict that the film will open to between $20 million and $25 million, a Sony spokesman said the studio downplayed expectations, estimating about $15 million.
Teen girls and young women are the audience segment most intrigued by "Easy A." Interested young females typically show up on opening night, as evidenced by the out-of-the-gate success of blockbusters like the "Twilight" pictures and smaller movies like "Dear John." That's why many studio executives think "Easy A" will be No. 1 this weekend, although the film may disappear from theaters quickly.