THURSDAY NOON UPDATE: You wouldn’t think that imagining a bunch of stoned and drunk celebrities at James Franco’s house would amount to much as a film. Then again, it’s from the Superbad/Pineapple Express crew. So Sony/Columbia Pictures’ raunchy apocalyptic comedy This Is The End received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences and 82% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and a #1 reception Wednesday night. With a dearth of both ‘R’-rated movies or well-received laughers in the marketplace, pic made $7.8M Wednesday from 3,055 theaters after a stronger-than-expected late shows around the country. That number includes $2.2M from Tuesday late and midnight screenings. Sony’s latest projections are for the film to take at least mid-$30sM or higher over the next 5 days - or about the same dollar figure as its $32M negative cost. This Is The End was marketed squarely at a young adult male audience and should counter-program the Man Of Steel juggernaut niftily this weekend. Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jason Stone, and directed by Goldberg and Rogen in their directorial debuts, This Is the End is based on Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, a short film created by Rogen and Jay Baruchel in 2007. Initially called The Apocalypse, the new film’s name was changed but its roots were made clear during marketing: on this past April Fools’ Day, Sony released a trailer for Pineapple Express 2 which was in fact a teaser trailer for This Is the End. The usual cast of characters are there and then some new ones - Franco, Rogen, Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and some surprise celeb cameos for good measure. Inspired by the versimilitude of TV’s The Larry Sanders Show, the idea was to put their comedian friends on film and have the cast play fictional versions of themselves during a global apocalypse.

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