Not sure how to put this, but “Anchorman” is kind of a big deal.
Ron Burgundy will be able to buy all of the leather-bound books and “scotchy-scotch-scotch” his heart desires come Monday morning. “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” will rule the weekend, bumping “The Hobbit” from the top spot with a five-day debut that could soar past the $50 million mark faster than Baxter flying off that bridge. “American Hustle” and “Saving Mr. Banks” don’t stand a chance.
The studio was iffy about making a sequel, but Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell and newly christened “Ant-Man” Paul Rudd knew how much the fanbase had grown in the nine years since the release of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” Despite the fact that “Anchorman” failed to deliver much overseas, it found new believers on DVD, online and on premium cable channels.
Back in 2010, director Adam McKay told MTV News about the struggle to get Burgundy back into theaters. “Graciously, Steve and Paul and everyone agreed to cut their price to come and do it, which you don’t see very often in Hollywood — and cut their price substantially. But even with that, it’s just a budgetary thing,” he said. Three years later, the film was finally in production with a reported $50 million budget.
As the last major comedy to open before New Year’s Day, “Anchorman 2″ will have the last laugh of 2013. That will leave the weekend’s runner-up position to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” with box-office watchers forecasting a 60 percent drop to around $30 million. Disney Animation hit “Frozen” should stay in the top five with another $16 million, making a $250 million finish.
Meanwhile, Oscar hopefuls “American Hustle” and “Saving Mr. Banks” expand nationwide. After making $740,000 in just six theaters, “American Hustle” should collect around $20 million in 2,507 locations. Emma Thompson has already earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in “Saving Mr. Banks,” which tells the story of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) convincing author P.L. Travers (Thompson) to let him adapt “Mary Poppins” for the big screen. In 2,110 theaters, “Banks” should make another $11 million.
The only other major new release is “Walking with Dinosaurs,” a 3-D kids’ adventure that had its premiere at L.A.’s Natural History Museum. Justin Long and Karl Urban are among the actors who lent their voices to “Dinosaurs,” which should open with around $12 million.