A race for No. 1 at box of­fice

‘ Ted 2,’ ‘ In­side Out’ and ‘ Juras­sic World’ could see a com­bined $ 150 mil­lion in ticket sales this week­end.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Saba Ham­edy saba. ham­edy@ latimes. com

There’s a three- way race this week­end as “Ted 2,” “In­side Out” and “Juras­sic World” rack up ticket sales that could put June within range of be­ing the big­gest month ever at the box of­fice.

The films are track­ing to de­liver a com­bined $ 150 mil­lion in ticket sales this week­end — and the month still has five days to go. With about $ 950 mil­lion col­lected so far in June, ac­cord­ing to f ilm re­search firm Ren­trak, the month could top­ple the record $ 1.4 bil­lion made in July 2011 when “Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows: Part 2” ruled the cine­plex.

Even if the month falls short, it will still have been an im­pres­sive run con­sid­er­ing an­a­lysts were ini­tially wor­ried ticket sales were lag­ging when big movies like “To­mor­row­land” and “Spy” dis­ap­pointed. But the big sum­mer block­buster sea­son got back on track as “Juras­sic World” smashed records when it de­buted three weeks ago.

“I think there was way too much pes­simism when we had those two week­ends when things were down and peo­ple were say­ing, ‘ Oh, maybe there won’t be record- break­ing sum­mer,’ ” said Phil Con­trino, chief an­a­lyst at BoxOf­fice. com. “There’s some­thing to be said about pa­tience in the mar­ket­place.”

The key sum­mer box of­fice is track­ing al­most 12% ahead of 2014 f ig­ures, much of that is due to the blis­ter­ing pace of the “Juras­sic Park” se­quel. It has col­lected $ 1 bil­lion world­wide faster than any f ilm in history, and be­came the sec­ond film in history to break $ 200 mil­lion in its open­ing week­end.

The re­sults have helped Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures claim its big­gest year at the global box of­fice. The stu­dio said Mon­day that its world­wide grosses have reached $ 3.8 bil­lion, and that amount will grow as “Fam­ily Guy” cre­ator Seth MacFar­lane de­buts his “Ted 2” this week­end.

The fol­low- up to the 2012 “Ted” fol­lows John ( Mark Wahlberg) and his best friend Ted, a pot­ty­mouthed teddy bear ( voiced by MacFar­lane). This time around, Ted seeks help from a lawyer ( Amanda Seyfried) and a civil rights at­tor­ney ( Mor­gan Free­man) so he and his new wife ( Jes­sica Barth) can adopt a child.

The f irst f ilm opened with a strong $ 54 mil­lion in 2012, and Uni­ver­sal ex­pects a sim­i­lar de­but for the se­quel. Like its pre­de­ces­sor, the R- rated com­edy is likely to at­tract largely younger male au­di­ences.

Pixar’s “In­side Out” is ex­pected to pack a punch in its sopho­more week­end, po­ten­tially even tak­ing over the No. 1 spot. The f ilm blew past ex­pec­ta­tions with a $ 90- mil­lion open­ing. Only “Toy Story 3,” with a $ 110.3- mil­lion de­but week­end in 2010, has opened big­ger for Dis­ney- owned Pixar.

The crit­i­cally ac­claimed film fol­lows an 11- year- old Mid­west­ern girl named Ri­ley who is steered through a life- chang­ing move to San Fran­cisco by the emo­tions in her head: Joy ( voiced by Amy Poehler), Sad­ness ( Phyl­lis Smith), Fear ( Bill Hader), Anger ( Lewis Black) and Dis­gust ( Mindy Kal­ing).

Another new of­fer­ing this week­end is MGM Stu­dios’ “Max,” which fol­lows a ser­vice dog that re­turns to the U. S. af­ter suf­fer­ing a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. The film, be­ing re­leased by Warner Bros., is look­ing at a launch of $ 8 mil­lion to $ 12 mil­lion. It cost $ 20 mil­lion to make.

The next big test for the sum­mer movie sea­son: the Fourth of July week­end. The box of­fice is up about 6.2% year to date as a slew of an­tic­i­pated f ilms con­tinue to en­ter the mar­ket­place. The hol­i­day week­end is ex­pected to bring in movie­go­ers in droves, with “Magic Mike XXL” and “Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys” on deck.

Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures

AMANDA SEYFRIED,

left, plays a lawyer help­ing Mark Wahlberg and his best friend Ted, a potty- mouthed teddy bear, in “Ted 2.”

Pixar

THE EMO­TIONS in the head of an 11- year- old girl are shown in Pixar’s “In­side Out,” which blew past ex­pec­ta­tions in its de­but.

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