Weekend Briefing: 'The Other Guys,' 'Step Up 3D' Try to Stake Out Audiences
This weekend, The Other Guys bust onto approximately 5,000 screens at 3,651 locations, while Step Up 3-D gets the party started on close to 3,000 screens at 2,435 locations. Inception, which has reigned for three weeks, will still be in the mix: its continued weekday strength suggests another slim decline.

The Other Guys marks the second buddy action comedy of the year, following Cop Out. The sub-genre has generally been quite popular, including such past titles as 48 HRS., Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys and Rush Hour (and their sequels), although there have been a number of flubs in recent years, such as The Man, Hollywood Homicide and Showtime. Cop Out performed modestly, opening to $18.2 million and closing with nearly $45 million, though another like-minded comparison for Other Guys would be Starsky & Hutch, which started with $28.1 million (or the equivalent of around $36 million adjusted for ticket price inflation) back in 2004. Other Guys' marketing campaign has been clear and consistent in its message, presenting the antics of its low-on-the-cop-totem-pole title characters and riffing on genre conventions, such as car chases and suicidal jumpers.

After stumbling last summer with Land of the Lost, Will Ferrell has reteamed with director Adam McKay on The Other Guys. The duo is three-for-three with their previous pairings Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, and all three debuted in the second half of the summer, like Other Guys. Talladega Nights was their biggest hit, logging a $47 million first weekend (or around $57 million adjusted), while Anchorman and Step Brothers were closer to $30 million out of the gate. The purpose of co-star Mark Wahlberg's presence was to add straight action credibility to Ferrell's buffoonery, however Wahlberg doesn't have the greatest branding in that department, given the disappointing returns for Shooter and Max Payne.

Step Up 3-D's release includes 1,826 theaters presenting the movie in 3D. While far from a record 3D launch, it has an extremely high 3D-to-2D ratio. While it's the first major full-on dance movie since Step Up 2 the Streets, Step Up 3-D's advertising has banked on 3D to carry the day, assuming 3D is a draw in its own right. The ads have also assumed that the Step Up brand has enough audience equity to sway moviegoers, presenting just a bunch of dance shots with no story.

While other dance movies had their sequels go straight-to-video, the Step Up franchise has been a solid theatrical player. The first movie was unleashed in August 2006, racking up a $20.7 million start and ending its run with $65.3 million. Step Up 2 the Streets struck in February 2008, bagging $18.9 million initially and winding up with a $58 million final tally. The sequel had a solid retention of over 80 percent of its predecessor's attendance, but there was only a year and a half wait between movies. Step Up 3-D comes two and a half years after Step Up 2. It also doesn't help matters that the recent dance movie craze was lampooned last summer in Dance Flick.

In Box Office Mojo's reader polling, The Other Guys, expectedly, had a much higher rating than Step Up 3-D. Its opening weekend score for when people will see it was a good 23.1 percent, which was much higher than Cop Out, Land of the Lost and Step Brothers had at the same point. Step Up 3-D wasn't a slacker on this front either, nabbing a 6.5 percent opening weekend vote. Though seemingly low, that wasn't far off from Step Up 2 the Streets. Keep in mind, though, that such polling is only one indicator and does not directly translate into dollars.

Latest Weekend Report

'Inception' Keeps Dream Alive

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2009 - 'G.I. Joe' Doesn't Roll Snake Eyes

• 2008 - 'Dark Knight' Still Ablaze in Fourth Week

• 2007 - 'Rush Hour 3' Packs Less Punch

• 2006 - 'Step Up' Stands Out, 'World Trade Center' Sturdy in Third

• 2005 - 'Four Brothers,' 'Skeleton Key' Bury 'Deuce Bigalow'

• 2002 - Extreme Weekend for 'XXX'

Similar Movies to:

'The Other Guys'

'Step Up 3-D'