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Weekend Forecast for August 3-5, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

August 3, 2007

Ring ring! Ring ring! Coming through!

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If you thought Transformers was the only film based on a toy line this summer, you are woefully and tragically mistaken. Bratz, based on the line of pre-teen hooker dolls (...what? No? Could have fooled me) hits theaters this weekend in a hastily-thrown together story about four friends entering a new school and encountering a bitterly divided place filled with cliques (or in the movie's parlance, "clicks". Nails, meet chalkboard).

Bravely taking a stand on the issue of prejudice (it's bad, apparently), Bratz is a moderate exercise in irony, with our image obsessed heroes letting us know that it's totally uncool to judge someone on how they look or who they hang out with. The irony waves coming off this film must measure 300 MegaWalkens.

Although parents might be crazy enough to buy their kids these toys, a movie is a different story, and it's tough to imagine the kids that actually play with these toys relating to a high school movie. It seems like a movie without a demographic, and the 1,509 screens it's debuting on reveal a lack of confidence on the part of Lionsgate, or perhaps just good judgment from exhibitors. I'm happy to predict a weekend take of just around $5 million for Bratz in its debut.

El Cantante stars husband and wife team Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez in a biopic of 1970s salsa (the dance, not the food) king, Hector Lavoe, chronicling his rise and fall until his death from AIDS in 1993. No doubt the producers of this film see it as a Latino answer to Ray and Walk the Line, though Lavoe isn't nearly as well known a figure.




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Also somewhat problematic is that Anthony, and not his more famous wife, is the central figure of the film. Although a popular singer and sometimes actor, this is his first movie as a lead, and neither he nor Lopez have been much in the public mind space in the last little while. Then again, this might be a good thing (see: Gigli). Opening on just 542 screens, this isn't likely to make a huge impact, simply because of lack of locations. Give it $2 million on the weekend.

Last weekend, The Simpsons showed it still has life left in it, opening to a record-breaking $74 million. The long-running animated series was able to capitalize on its 17 years of loyal and casual watchers to turn it into one of the biggest hits of the summer. The week that has followed has pushed that total past $100 million (as of Thursday), though its numbers softened through the week. This matches its weekend pattern, which points to the potential for massive front-loading. A second weekend of about $31 million seems in store, with a lot of the pent-up desire to see a Simpsons movie evaporating. There's a small chance of positive word-of-mouth (of which there is plenty) and repeat viewings (of which there'll be at least some) turning the tide, but I'm personally not counting on it.

Moving down the list of returning films, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry showed surprising legs relative to what reviews and Sandler's history would have predicted, though that still meant a drop of almost 50%. This should hang on to about $11 million this weekend. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix continues to make a stab at $300 million, though the odds of that are slipping away. Watch for just under $10 million for this frame. In contrast to Chuck and Larry's poor reviews, Hairspray's great reviews didn't translate into legs, with a fall akin to the films above it in the rankings. It's destined for a mark over $100 million though, so I don't feel too badly for it. Transformers continues to exceed expectations, and while it won't pass $300 million this weekend, it's just one more away from becoming the fourth film of 2007 to do so.


Forecast: Weekend of August 3-5, 2007
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Bourne Ultimatum 3,660 New 59.8
2 The Simpsons Movie 3,926 +4 31.2
3 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry 3,289 -212 11.4
4 Underdog 3,013 New 10.5
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 3,125 -880 10.3
6 Hot Rod 2,607 New 8.6
7 Hairspray 3,115 -6 8.5
8 Transformers 2,419 -930 5.7
9 No Reservations 2,425 0 5.7
10 Ratatouille 1,904 -994 4.4

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