Blockbuster-starved studios rarely reach Hollywood's Emerald City, but Walt Disney Studios appears headed there this weekend.
The studio's $200-million-plus 3-D production is set to open this weekend with a massive gross of about $90 million, according to those who have seen prerelease audience surveys. (Disney is predicting a softer opening of roughly $75 million.) Not only would that make for the biggest debut of 2013 by far -- "Identity Thief" currently holds the record with its $34.6-million February launch -- but the strong opening could help jump-start what has been a slow year for film-going.
For the last six weekends, ticket sales have been down compared with the same period in 2012. Year-to-date, receipts are off about 8%, while attendance is down 9%, according to Hollywood.com.