Weekend Forecast for January 4-6, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

January 4, 2008

Hello? Can you tell me what happened to my once promising career?

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This year's quasi-indie sensation, Juno, made a huge breakthrough last weekend, earning $10 million on an expansion to about 1,000 screens. A film about a sarcastic pregnant teenager in Minnesota and her struggles with the realities of growing up, it seemed to strike a huge chord with audiences, and is gathering a big head of steam for a word-of-mouth campaign, as well as one for Oscar chances. Ellen Page is the breakthrough star as the title character, and seems almost certain for Academy recognition. Juno expands to over 2,000 screens this weekend, which should vault it higher in the box office standings and even gives it upset #1 potential. I won't go quite that far, but $15 million seems possible given its momentum.

That should be a popular plateau for the weekend, as it's about where I see I Am Legend ending up for its fourth weekend. With over $200 million in the bank so far, Legend has proven to be one of the biggest films of the year, and added to Will Smith's own legend as a leading man.

Charlie Wilson's War picked up a bit of steam in its second weekend, and it's closing in on $50 million total, but is still a bit of a disappointment for a film with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the credits, even with its political and war storylines, not the most popular genres of film at the best of times. Overall it seems miscast and possibly mistimed to some degree, though it's hard to imagine when the next time a film about American interventionism overseas will be gladly received. I look for another $8 million for this film this weekend.

P.S. I Love You had a sizable jump in its second weekend, ending up just shy of $10 million. It benefited as the sole romantic comedy (well, sort of) out during the holidays, but it should see a fairly large fall off this weekend to about $6 million.


The rest of the weekend is a motley bunch of underperformers, including Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, The Water Horse and Sweeney Todd. All these films should sit in about the $5 million neighborhood for the weekend, with all competing to see which, if any, can get to $50 million.

Also expanding this weekend are the Denzel Washington teacher flick The Great Debaters, and one of the highly touted Oscar contenders, Atonement. While The Great Debaters expansion may not have much implication for the box office (It's relatively small and the film was already wide), Atonement's could bring it into the top ten.

The romance/war film, set in pastoral Britain at the dawn of WWII, tells the story of two young lovers (Keira Knightley and James McAvoy) kept apart by class, but more importantly, by a damning, yet false accusation by Knightley's young sister, changing all their lives forever, and leading to a lifetime of regret for the young girl who made the charge. It's received some of the most glowing reviews of the season, and has already earned $12 million in limited release. With a near doubling of its screens, I expect a weekend total of about $4 million, which could be enough to sneak into the top ranks.

Forecast: Weekend of January 4-6, 2008
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets 3,762 -70 22.6
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks 3,462 -22 15.9
3 Juno 1,925 +906 15.6
4 I Am Legend 3,648 +12 15.3
5 Charlie Wilson's War 2,594 +19 8.3
6 One Missed Call 2,240 New 7.3
7 The Water Horse 2,777 +5 5.6
8 P.S. I Love You 2,471 +7 5.3
9 Aliens vs. Predator Requiem 2,617 +6 4.6
10 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 1,249 0 4.4

Continued:       1       2



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