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THE HEAT Is On at Weekend Box Office: Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock Comedy

The Heat is on Melissa McCarthy Sandra BullockThe Heat is on: Weekend box office of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock comedy is solid — but hardly outstanding

Paul Feig's comedy The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, is having a solid — though hardly outstanding — debut weekend. (See also: "White House Down: Roland Emmerich's Worst Opening in Two Decades?") (Photo: Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat.)

First things first: the no. 1 slot on the U.S. and Canada box office chart this weekend, June 28-30, 2013, belongs to last weekend's champ, Disney / Pixar's animated feature Monsters University. Featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, and Helen Mirren, among others, Monsters University could easily collect $45 million by Sunday evening, after grossing $14.28 million on Friday according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Its domestic cume should then reach close to $170 million.

At no. 2, 20th Century Fox's The Heat will likely reach $35 million from 3,181 locations, after having earned an estimated $13.6 million — including $1 million from late Thursday shows. Deadline.com is estimating $40 million for the weekend, but based on the film's Friday and Saturday grosses (unofficially, about $13 million on Saturday), that seems much too high.

For comparison's sake: Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, which earned Melissa McCarthy a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, opened with $26.24 million in May 2011, cuming at $169.1 million in North America, in addition to $119.27 million internationally. According to Box Office Mojo, Bridesmaids' top international territories by a wide margin were, unsurprisingly, two English-speaking countries where Hollywood comedies usually perform much better than elsewhere: the United Kingdom ($37.21 million) and Australia ($28.68 million). In no other territory did Bridesmaids bring in more than $10 million. (Note: data for some territories is incomplete.)

Here's another comparison: Starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, Identity Thief opened with $34.55 million in early February 2013. The Seth Gordon-directed comedy cumed at $134.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, grossing an additional $39.45 million internationally. The disappointing international gross shouldn't come as a surprise, as neither McCarthy nor Bateman are international stars. Identity Thief's biggest markets were the United Kingdom with $7.46 million and Australia with $7.07 million, followed by Germany with $5.58 million. According to figures found at Box Office Mojo, in no other territory did Identity Thief gross above $5 million.

Internationally, expect The Heat to land somewhere between Identity Thief and Bridesmaids, as the latter film's risqué (crass?) humor compensated for its lack of international big names.

Official weekend box office estimates come out on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals will be released on Monday.

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock topline The Heat movie cast

The Heat was budgeted at a reported $41 million, not including marketing and distribution costs (or contractual shares of its box office gross). Besides Melissa McCarthy and Best Actress Oscar winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), The Heat features Best Actor Oscar nominee Demián Bichir (A Better Life), Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Dan Bakkedahl, Taran Killam, Spoken Reasons, Michael McDonald, and veteran Jane Curtin. Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation, MADtv) is credited for the film's screenplay — which is not based on the Michael Mann-directed Al Pacino / Robert De Niro thriller Heat.

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat photo: 20th Century Fox.

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