“Anchorman 2″ Adds $5 Million, Weekend Looks Underwhelming

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Expect to see numerous headlines touting the strong box office performance of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”

Know those headlines are exaggerating reality.

While the long-awaited “Anchorman” sequel is not getting off to a poor start at the box office, its total is hardly setting the world on fire.

After raking in an additional $5.1 million Thursday, the film’s total currently stands at $13.2 million. According to Deadline, industry insiders are downgrading the film’s forecasts for the upcoming three-day weekend to less than $30 million, which would make for a five-day debut in the $40-43 million ballpark.

If that estimate holds, the sequel’s five-day opening mark will have barely topped that of its 2004 predecessor.

2004′s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” earned $36.5 million in its first five days. Considering the fact that “Anchorman” gained much of its pop culture notoriety after hitting the shelves of video stores (interest that would not be reflected in the theatrical gross), the sequel should have performed significantly better than the original–even if it had not received the relentless promotional blitz that it did.

And what a promotional blitz it received! Over the past few months, Ron Burgundy has literally been everywhere as part of the film’s aggressive promotional campaign.

All that for a slightly better start than the original?

If “Anchorman 2″ does not have an upside surprise this weekend, its Friday-through-Sunday total will barely beat the $28.4 million earned by “Anchorman” in its first three days. While the comparison is unfair due to the fact that the original “Anchorman” opened on a Friday, the fact that the totals are remotely comparable is irrefutably disappointing.

Make no mistake. By comedy standards, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” will have a successful theatrical run. But by the standards of one of the most aggressively hyped, passionately beloved comedy franchies of the past decade, the opening weekend number will definitely be underwhelming.