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Box Office Hangover? ‘Greek,’ ‘Killers’ Weak; Market Down 28%

Week’s big releases hit their middling tracking marks, but Friday revenue way off year-ago figures

Apparently, the "hangover" felt at the domestic box office Friday was the kind an industry gets from going on a record revenue bender the year prior, and not the type that opens to $20 million above its tracking.

The weekend’s big comedy releases, Universal’s Judd Apatow-produced "Get Him to the Greek" and Lionsgate’s Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl film "Killers" both are on track to meet middling pre-release opening estimates in the mid–to-high teens, grossing $6.2 million and $5.6 million respectively on Friday, according to studio estimates.

The weekend’s other new wide releases, Fox talking-dog-themed family film "Marmaduke" and Warner indie-horror pick-up "Splice," also started out on pace to meet their weak pre-release tracking, grossing $3.4 million and $2.5 million, respectively.

Now in its third weekend, "Shrek" remained the No. 1 film, adding another $6.8 million to a total that should surpass $180 million in the U.S. and Canada by the end of the weekend. It’s the only film expected to hit $20 million domestically this weekend

All in all, the domestic box office is on pace to finish the three-day weekend period down about 28 percent from the same June weekend last year.

In fact, it was 52 weekends ago that Warner R-rated comedy "The Hangover" opened to $45 million after being tracked to gross in the low $20 million range. That over-performance highlighted an incindiary start to the 2009 summer blockbuster season.

But there will be no breakout surprises this time around, as the box office continues its underwhelming start to the 2010 summer campaign.

With titles like "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" driving the market way up over the record-breaking performance of 2009, it was expected that 2010 would break last year’s $10.6 billion revenue mark.

But virtually every major release in May underperformed. And so far, June isnt’ off to a hot start, either.

Here’s a look at Friday’s top 10:

“Shrek Forever After” ($6.8m)
“Get Him to the Greek” ($6.2m)
“Killers” ($5.6m)
“Sex and the City 2” ($4.4m)
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” ($4.0m)
“Marmaduke” ($3.4m)
“Splice” ($2.5m)
“Iron Man 2” ($2.2m)
“Robin Hood” ($1.5m)
“Letters to Juliet” ($961,000)

Also read: Bad News for ‘Shrek': McDonald’s Recalls 12 M Glasses