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Weekend Forecast for July 6-8, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

July 6, 2007

For reasons passing understanding, he is inspired by Shia LaBeouf.

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With the July 4th holiday pushing this week's films to open early, the weekend might appear just a formality. However, while early results have told some of the story, the full tale of this non-holiday holiday-weekend is still to come.

So let's dispense with the obvious right off the bat. Transformers is a massive, massive hit. Although its 8 p.m. Monday start time makes a mockery of the concept of the opening weekend, the Michael Bay-directed adaptation of the '80s-toy-turned-cartoon-series nonetheless has put up a massive first two and a half days, totaling $65 million, and setting records for the largest Tuesday ever, as well as the largest 4th of July total ever.

A CGI ‘splosion fest of the highest order and a badly needed rebound for Bay after the disaster of The Island, Transformers now needs to carry that momentum forward in order to play with the three previous big boys of summer. Word-of-mouth is generally good, and the improvement in box office from the 3rd to the 4th is a good sign, if expected. What works in its favor are both the kid friendly premise, decades of nostalgia and an uncomplicated plot (when you boil it right down). The effects look fantastic, and they finally went with the idea of using the classic cartoon sound effect in the ads, which started separating geeks from their money almost immediately. It may be a cross-marketed, corporate cash-in Frankenstein of a film, but dammit, it's fun, at least for most viewers.




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With the effects being the star here, it'll be interesting to watch how much the success will transfer over to the careers of its human stars, Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Although both are going to be household names for at least a little while and recognizable for a bit longer, my first guess is that this is the peak for both of them. Enjoy it while it lasts.

As far as the actual weekend figure, the question now is how much of its audience it's burned off in these few days. Let's not forget that last summer, Superman Returns opened in a semi-identical spot to $21 million, which was the greatest single day total of its run. Of course, that film sucked, but it's something to consider. I would look for Transformers to surpass that on at least one day of the weekend, but certainly not all three, along the way to an $82 million weekend figure. This should put it at about $160 million to that point.

The other new film of the weekend, License to Wed, will not fare nearly as well. In fact, to earn 1/10 of what the Transformers bring in would be a moral victory for it at this point. It stars Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and The Office's John Krasinski in a marriage comedy, with Williams playing a semi-deranged reverend that puts engaged couple Krasinski and Moore through a relationship boot camp in order to test their marriage worthiness. While the two make a nice bit of casting as a cute couple, and Krasinski is an excellent choice for a foil for the manic Williams, the resulting film seems to be lacking in a few things - specifically, humor and charm.


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