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Weekend Forecast for June 22-24, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

June 22, 2007

Steve didn't realize that he'd signed on for a Hitchcock remake.

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A Mighty Heart is this week's third film, starring Angelina Jolie in a story based on the events surrounding the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan while he was investigating Al-Qaeda operations there. Jolie plays Marianne Pearl, Daniel's wife, as she attempts to negotiate for his release in the frantic days surrounding his capture.

Jolie is a lot of the show here, capturing a ton of critical acclaim for her portrayal of the devoted and determined wife. However, this is also a political thriller, looking into the situation on the ground in Pakistan, and the film has received critical praise for that element as well. In the range of films made regarding modern terrorism and the post-9/11 world, A Might Heart sits somewhere between United 93's disturbing realism and World Trade Center's dramatic license, with British director Michael Winterbottom (acclaimed for last year's documentary The Road to Guantanamo) hoping to bring tension to an already determined ending.

While Jolie remains one of the biggest female leads in the world, A Mighty Heart is not an easy sell, given its themes and subject matter. Indeed, it's launching on just 1,355 screens, though this is a fairly wide release for a film from Paramount's indie wing. Based on this, I see a weekend of about $6 million in the cards for this film, which is the first film of 2007 that most people can see sticking in the memory for major Oscars at the end of the year.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has a shot at retaining the number one spot for the weekend if it can better the holdover of its predecessor, and/or if Evan Almighty underperforms. I wouldn't count on that first factor, though the second could very well happen, leaving the Marvel superhero team standing atop the box office again. Of course, there's the small matter of audiences not liking this film very much, though this series continues to defy common sense. After opening to $58 million (based, in my opinion, largely on the cool factor of the Surfer), I see a second weekend of about $27 million. Virtually no franchises have shown legs this year, which has to be something of a disturbing trend for Hollywood.

Speaking of that, Ocean's Thirteen had an... okay weekend in its second frame, dropping to $19.7 million from $36. The step up in quality from Ocean's Twelve seems to have been noticed by audiences, though it's almost too little, too late given the opening weekend, which was the lowest of this series. Look for another $10 million this weekend, as it moves towards a $125 million or so total.




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Knocked Up had an even better carryover in its third weekend than in its second, earning $14 million and creeping up to the $100 million milestone, which will officially be surpassed with Friday's take. It faces the first real comedy challenger this weekend in Evan Almighty, but the films really couldn't be trying for more different audiences. I like Knocked Up to continue its strong run, bringing in a little over $9 million in its fourth weekend.

Moving further down the rankings, Pirates of the Caribbean inches steadily towards $300 million with another $7 million in box office, while Shrek the Third has already hit that target mid-week. Of the big three May films, Spider-Man 3 still looks like the overall winner, but at much lower final totals than most would have thought.

Surf's Up shed almost a full half of its opening weekend in its return engagement, and is more likely to be hurt by the arrival of Evan Almighty, though animation tends to exist in its own universe. In any event, a total much higher than $60 million for the surfing penguins seems unlikely.

This weekend's most prominent limited release is on just one screen in New York, that being Michael Moore's documentary on the United States' health care system, Sicko. Although a controversial figure who often makes himself the subject of his own films, Sicko seems to be winning over figures all around the political spectrum, with many calling it his most accomplished and mature film to date. Expanding in later weeks, Sicko's performance relative to his previous films will be interesting to watch.


Forecast: Weekend of June 22-24. 2007
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Evan Almighty 3,602 New 35.6
2 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 3,963 +4 27.5
3 1408 2,678 New 19.1
4 Ocean's Thirteen 3,450 -115 10.4
5 Knocked Up 2,972 +65 9.8
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 2,802 -527 7.1
7 A Mighty Heart 1,355 New 6.4
8 Shrek the Third 2,822 -683 4.9
9 Surf's Up 3,309 -222 4.4
10 Nancy Drew 2,612 0 3.3

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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