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Attribute it to whatever phenomena you want — the potheads stayed away, the groupies weren't interested, RetardGate '08 — but Tropic Thunder opened softer than planned on Wednesday. Ben Stiller's Hollywood satire pulled in around $7.5 million, prompting observers to downgrade their weekend estimates that should nevertheless keep the film in first place above Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Dark Knight this weekend. The turnout looked that much worse when compared to that of Pineapple Express, which drew more than $12 million last Wednesday — the best midweek, R-rated comedy opening in ages.That didn't discourage the gang at DreamWorks, however, who argued that their $90 million raunchfest has what it takes to measure up eventually: "We will play to a little older audience than Pineapple Express, so we should do better on Saturday and get to about the same box office," a "source" told Nikki Finke, apparently overlooking the lack of a pot subplot or panty-soaking James Franco to buttress Thunder's run. We're a little more skeptical and think this calls for more desperate measures: If ever the 'Works needed to reinstate its gold mine at, now is the hour.