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'No Strings Attached' to challenge 'Green Hornet' at the box office

Paramount's romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend.

January 21, 2011|By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
  • Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman star in "No Strings Attached," which is projected to open to about $20 million. It cost about $25 million to make.
Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman star in "No Strings Attached,"… (Dale Robinette, Paramount )

With the male-skewing "The Green Hornet" currently dominating the box office, Paramount Pictures is hoping to take the top spot with a movie aimed at young women.

Paramount's Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman romantic comedy "No Strings Attached" is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend and is generating solid interest among females under 25, according to prerelease surveys.

People who have seen the results of such surveys said "No Strings" should open to about $20 million, a good start given that it cost about $25 million to make. It was co-financed by Paramount, Spyglass Entertainment and Cold Spring Pictures.

Marketing for the film, about a young couple attempting to have a sexual but nonromantic relationship, is not attracting many men, according to surveys. That's good news for last weekend's No. 1 movie, "Green Hornet," which drew a primarily male audience.

After its good but not great $33.5-million debut, the big-budget 3-D action-comedy probably will see ticket sales fall by about half, putting it a bit behind projections for "No Strings." As of Wednesday, Sony Pictures' "Green Hornet," which stars Seth Rogen, had grossed $43.7 million in the United States and Canada.

Universal Pictures will also be watching the second-weekend performance of its Vince Vaughn-Kevin James comedy "The Dilemma." After the film's soft debut of $17.8 million last weekend, the studio is hoping that good word of mouth will lead to a modest drop of less than 40%, which is not uncommon for movies like "Dilemma" that draw a primarily adult female audience.

In limited release this weekend, Weinstein Co. rolls out "The Company Men," a drama about the effects of layoffs that stars Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones. The movie had a one-week run in December to qualify for the 2010 Academy Awards.

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