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Weekend Forecast for October 26-28, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

October 26, 2007

It is nearly impossible to find Saw pictures that aren't completely disgusting.

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After a couple of weeks of Hollywood throwing every movie they had left over in their catalog into theaters, cinephiles get a bit of a break this weekend. It's also the weekend before Halloween, which means we get the scariest movies that studios can think of. This year, they've reached a new height: Steve Carell as a single dad.

Okay, so the real horror film is the latest in the series that just won't go away, Saw. We're up to Saw IV now, and even the death of the main character can't stop the ludicrously elaborate death traps with grisly results.

Jigsaw has left traps behind after his demise, and possibly had a contingency plan for his work to be carried out in the event that someone turned the tables on him. A group of FBI agents... oh, who cares, right? You're just here for the blood. Aside from a few cameos, it's an almost entirely new cast – so it's sort of a Blair Witch 2 situation, although it is at least the same basic format of movie.

This is Lionsgate's one proven commodity, so they're obviously hoping they can continue to keep this series going as long as possible – the last two opened to over $30 million and grossed over $80 domestic on a budget less than the catering cost for a typical film. That said, you do wonder how many times people will come back for more of the exact same film, or even an inferior copy. I expect a little bit of slide in the opening weekend from the last two films, to about $27 million.




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As mentioned earlier, Steve Carell is the star of the weekend's other movie, Dan in Real Life. Carell stars as a Dave Barry-esque advice columnist, who isn't as put together as he portrays himself in his column, and a single-dad to three daughters.

The film follows this semi-dysfunctional group as they head to a family reunion, with Carell's character attempting to deal with overbearing family members, including his father (played by John Mahoney) and his brother (Dane Cook). Further complicating things is the spark he feels with a woman he meets in a book store along the way, who turns out to be said brother's new girlfriend.

Directed by Peter Hedges, writer of About a Boy and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Dan in Real Life is one of those attempts to be heartwarming that Hollywood foists upon us every once in awhile, to varying degrees of success. This one looks better than most, albeit a bit sitcomy and slapsticky. Then again, that's exactly the kind of thing mainstream audiences go for.

Disney is obviously hoping here that Carell's fantastic performance in last fall's Little Miss Sunshine makes him into a feasible leading man for other family dramas. Carell had a rocky summer, and Evan Almighty was one the biggest money-losers, though I can hardly blame him for that – that film was just a bad idea altogether. Dan in Real Life may be just the thing to get him back on track, though awards talk seems quite a bit premature. Opening in a modest 1,700 venues, this should earn about $12 million this weekend.


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