This weekend’s box office matchup of same-sex figure skaters vs 3-D toon looks like it could be easy to predict: Dreamworks/Paramount’s Blades Of Glory #1 since it’s got reliable funnyman Will Ferrell and cult favorite John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite). And Disney’s 3-D toon Meet The Robinsons is likely a close #2. But that ain’t necessarily so. Maybe they’ll be neck-and-neck. For one thing, CBS is broadcasting those epic NCAA basketball match-ups on Saturday (UCLA vs Florida, Ohio State vs Georgetown). So box office gurus say that could hurt Blades. But every guy young and old I know wants to see this pic, and Will Ferrell in a high concept parody like this almost always guarantees a $30+ mil debut especially in 3,317 theaters. (His spoof Talledega Nights opened to $47 mil thanks to the NASCAR fans.) So the feeling is the new pic could pass $40 mil. But a safe bet is mid-to-high 30s, as in millions. As for Meet The Robinsons, its 3-D extra value adds a new wrinkle. “They’ve never had this many 3-D theaters. They don’t know what that’s going to mean in terms of top spin,” an insider tells me. Some 600 of the 3,413 screens where the toon will be playing have been equipped with Disney’s brand new 3-D technology. “It’s no longer gimmicky red and green lenses,” the source adds. “It could push them into the 30s.” Plus, it only has a 92 minute running time. Another good sign: before last Sunday’s premiere, media were barraging Disney PR for passes because their kids were nagging them to go. And spring vacations in schools are just starting, so the rug rats will be out in force for the next two weeks. (FYI, look for a big Robinsons print campaign showing the T-Rex wearing two big sponge thumbs-up.) This CG pic, like Chicken Little, is from Disney’s own animation studios, not from Pixar. So a lot’s riding on it. The feeling is that the toon will end up with high 20s/low 30s — as in millions. By the way, this same weekend a year ago posted a total $140 mil at the box office, thanks to Ice Age 2. So there’s a lot of potential moolah out there.
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