The Fourth of July weekend brings no new big-budget blockbusters, leaving room for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to continue its box-office dominance. But there should still be room for comic star Melissa McCarthy to deliver another hit.
New Line Cinema's $20-million R-rated comedy "Tammy" could gross around $45 million in the United States and Canada through Sunday, after opening at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
That should put the film in a solid second-place finish for the five-day period, behind the fourth "Transformers" movie. That Michael Bay-directed tent pole generated $100 million in ticket sales in its box-office debut at home and delivered more than $200 million overseas for a worldwide opening weekend of about $300 million.
McCarthy, who co-wrote "Tammy" with her husband Ben Falcone (who is also directing the movie), has proved a powerful box-office force since her breakout role in the 2011 hit "Bridesmaids." Her successes last year included "The Heat," a buddy cop comedy with Sandra Bullock that grossed nearly $160 million in the U.S. and Canada, and "Identity Thief," which hauled in $134 million.
In "Tammy," McCarthy plays the outrageous title character -- a woman who totals her car, loses her job, finds out her husband is unfaithful, and then hits the road with her alcoholic grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon. The film also features Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates.
The reviews counted so far by Rotten Tomatoes have been mostly negative, but lukewarm critical reception didn't prevent "Identity Thief" from making off with box-office cash.
Also opening this weekend is Relativity Media's PG-rated "Earth to Echo," a family film about three young friends who must help a small stranded alien return home.
In its voyage to the big screen, the movie itself has traveled far away from its place of origin.
"Earth to Echo," directed by first-timer Dave Green and produced by Andrew Panay, was originally greenlighted by Disney before Alan Horn took over as chairman of the studio.
Relativity acquired the movie last year, seeing it as a low-risk play for families, and is hoping that the lack of kids films currently in the marketplace bodes well for "Earth to Echo's" fortunes. The movie should gross $16 million to $19 million Wednesday through Sunday, after costing Relativity just $13 million.
It has received generally favorable reviews, indicated by a "freshness" score of 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Screen Gems is releasing "Deliver Us From Evil" for horror fans. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced supernatural crime film, which cost $30 million to make, is expected to gross about $20 million through Sunday.
"Deliver Us From Evil" -- starring Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez and Olivia Munn -- is based on the book "Beware the Night" by the retired NYPD officer-turned-demonologist Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool. It details Sarchie's investigations into the paranormal.
While the new entrants will battle for dollars at the multiplex this weekend, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" will face no real competition until next week, when "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" hits theaters.
Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter: @rfaughnderCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun