Can sex friends stay best friends?
That's the time-honored conundrum Paramount is diving knee-deep into this weekend, as it releases its Ivan Reitman-directed relationship comedy No Strings Attached into 3,018 theaters across the U.S. and Canada this weekend.
As moderately priced R-rated romantic comedies go, this one should do quite well, with box-office pundits predicting the film to do around $20 million worth of domestic business this weekend.
That'll be good coin for the film, which costs about $25 million to make and stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman as yuppies who test the boundaries of the ol' friends-with-benefits plan.
As career evolutions go, Portman isn't taking that "next step" from beyond V for Vendetta and Black Swan, and the guy crowd ain't rushing out to see it.
But it's got real heat among young women.
NRG, which stands outside of movie theaters with clipboards and asks annoying questions about the film you just saw, reported Thursday that fully 87 percent of women under 25 in the U.S. know about No Strings Attached.
Meanwhile, 57 percent of those women express "definite interest" in seeing the movie.
Reviews, meanwhile, haven't been great, but they haven't been horrible, either, with aggregator Rotten Tomatoes scoring it at around 50 percent.
Likely to rival No Strings is last weekend's box-office champ, Seth Rogen film The Green Hornet, which opened solidly last weekend, grossing about $40 million over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday.
Hornet should also gross about $20 million this weekend.
While No Strings is the only major-studio film opening wide this week, several indies will make limited debuts.
The Peter Weir-directed, Soviet gulag-themed The Way Back will be distributed by Newmarket Films to about 650 locations this weekend.
And The Weinstein Company's Company Men will debut in 106 theaters (although it had a small premiere last month for the sake of Academy Awards qualification).
The film is directed by John Wells, and stars Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Maria Bello.
| No Strings Attached || We say: $22.0M|
| The Green Hornet ||We say: $19.0M|
| The Dilemma || We say: $8.5M|
| The King's Speech ||We say: $8.0M|
| True Grit || We say: $7.9M|
| Black Swan || We say: $6.5M|
| The Fighter ||We say: $4.2M|
| Little Fockers ||We say: $4.0M|
| Tron: Legacy || We say: $3.8M|
| Yogi Bear ||We say: $3.5M|