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Box Office Preview: ‘Transformers 3′ To Stay Put at No. 1

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Transformers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The debuting “Horrible Bosses” from Warners and talking animals of Sony’s “Zookeeper” will be no match for the shape-shifting machinery of Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” this weekend, with Paramount’s sci-fi smash expected to crunch a leading $45 million in North America.

Last weekend, “Dark of the Moon” — with a little help from 3-D, IMAX and inflation — broke Fourth-of-July records to post the best opening of the year so far, amassing some $400 million worldwide. By Sunday night, that total should be well past $500 million, with more than $250 million in domestic receipts.

Meanwhile, there could be a struggle for second place between “Bosses” and “Zookeeper” — two very different comedies chasing two very different audiences.

With R-rated, ensemble comedies bringing more than a few laughs to theaters this summer, it’s no joke that Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and a scene-stealing Jennifer Aniston of “Bosses” could finish their weekend shift with a gross around $20 million.

But then there’s Kevin James, who brings comedy to kids in the PG-rated “Zookeeper.” The unlikely story of zoo animals helping James’ character in his quest for love could also tame a total of around $20 million this weekend. James surprised everyone in early 2009 with the unexpected success of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” thus showing his bank ability as a comedy star.

Roaring into fourth place with around $12 million is Disney/Pixar’s “Cars 2,” which should pass the $200 million mark worldwide by Sunday night. Heading into its third weekend, the 3-D animated film has driven the Pixar brand to over $6.8 billion in global theatrical revenue to date.

The classroom characters of Sony’s “Bad Teacher” and Universal’s “Larry Crowne” will cram for fifth place in the $6.5 million to $7.5 million range.

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Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and a box office analyst for The Associated Press.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

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