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Weekend Forecast for January 11-13, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

January 11, 2008

When I wear baby blue, I just want to dance!

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The second weekend of new films in 2008 is still a motley bunch of expanding films and films that couldn't find a home in 2007, or films that studios would rather pretend don't exist.

The Bucket List was supposed to be one of the big, heart-warming, commercial Oscar contenders for 2007. Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two cancer patients who work through a list of "must-dos" before they kick the... well, you know... the idea was that it would be an inspiring movie with middle-of the road appeal, garner some populist appeal and sweep in as the fourth or fifth nominee. But then, someone forgot to tell the populist award givers (i.e. The Golden Globes). It's struck out entirely in awards season, and its limited release has been less than inspiring, bringing in about $1 million in two weeks.

Admittedly, it's not the kind of film that really needs to platform, and its expansion from 16 screens to nearly 3,000 shows that. Really it was about getting it a 2007 release date, but it says something that they didn't think it could compete in the holiday period. Thematically, it was almost perfect, and I think Warner Bros has cost themselves some money with this move.

Although it has no awards love to help sell it, it's not totally dead in the water – although it's probably not going to attract too many viewers under the age of 40. Nicholson and Freeman are both decent leads for who they are, and the skydiving scene in the trailer and commercials is a winner. With a weak slate, this has an excellent chance of finishing first at the box office with about a $13 million weekend.




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The biggest challenge comes from First Sunday, starring Ice Cube, Tracey Morgan and something named Katt Williams. Cube and Morgan star as bumbling crooks who decide to rob a church in order to save Cube's son, only to discover that getting the money from the parishioners is going to be harder than they thought.

The pair end up in a standoff with the churchgoers, including the strange and odd Williams, as they learn the true meaning of Christmas or something, and hilarity is had by all. It resembles nothing quite so much as a Xerox copy of a Tyler Perry film with a little bit more "street cred" added in for good measure.

It's also a bit like Cube's own Friday films, which ended in 2002 after the third film faded away with $30 million. The hope is probably that Morgan, newly hot from his role in 30 Rock, can give this kind of comedy a bit of a push start. While the trailer isn't actually that bad, I think we're looking at a moderate start for this film, with around $12 million.

Family audiences get an option with the second Veggie Tales movie to get a theatrical release, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. I don't claim to know a great deal about the semi-cultish characters within the Veggie Tales universe, but I don't have kids and I've heard of them, which says something about their cultural cachet.


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