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Box Office Preview: 'New Year's Eve' to celebrate

By Paul Dergarabedian

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 8 2011 1:51 p.m. MST

In this film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Abigail Breslin, left, and Sarah Jessica Parker are shown in a scene from "New Year's Eve."

Warner Bros. Pictures, Andrew Schwartz, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

LOS ANGELES — Boasting more stars than you can shake a champagne bottle at, Warner Bros.' ensemble comedy "New Year's Eve" is set to ring in the weekend with a chart-topping $18 million to $22 million debut.

Directed by "Valentine's Day" helmer Garry Marshall, the film includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Halle Berry and even Robert De Niro among many others in a story of love and romance in New York City on surprise, New Year's Eve.

Second place should belong to Jonah Hill in the comedy "The Sitter" from 20th Century Fox, with an expected opening gross in the mid-teens. Hill plays a suspended college student tasked with babysitting a group of unruly kids on a wild night, finally bringing some R-rated fun back to the top five.

Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" enters its fourth weekend after holding the top spot for three straight weeks and will likely find itself in third place with receipts just below $10 million. The vampires and werewolves should delight in a total domestic gross approaching $260 million before the sun comes up on Monday morning.

Felt should fly in a family-friendly fight for fourth position as Disney's "The Muppets" scuffle with Paramount's "Hugo" in the $5 million range. "Hugo" is playing in nearly half as many theaters as "The Muppets," yet the Martin Scorsese 3-D adventure is steadily finding an audience as Oscar buzz grows and screens are added.

Sony's "Arthur Christmas" has been vying for family attention, too, and could also find itself in the thick of the PG-rated holiday-movie fight.

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

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