Weekend Forecast for October 17-19, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

October 17, 2008

W. makes another of his daily speeches to reassure the country about the state of the economy.

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Sex Drive seems to hail back to the glory days of '80s teen sex comedies like the kind that Savage Steve Holland (One Crazy Summer) would make. These kind of low budget, quirky movies grabbed onto small but fiercely passionate audiences and have lived on in video and VH1 specials forever. I'm not saying Sex Drive is that good or Josh Zuckerman is the next John Cusack (considering we've already established that's Michael Cera), but if you're slotting Sex Drive into a category, this is it.

Of course, one thing these films all had in common is that they made almost nothing at the box office (though were dirt cheap to make, so still successful in broader terms). That appears to be the fate of Sex Drive, which has its lead character off on a road trip in search of a woman he met over the Internet, to try and lose his virginity. So... Eurotrip without the exchange rates. This one seems a little sketchier (in both senses of the word), and I'm not seeing any great side-splitting gags that will get kids into the theater. They've been promoting the hell out of this, though, so we could see a weekend of about $6 million.

The final new film of the week is The Secret Life of Bees, based on a best-selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd. Dakota Fanning stars as a 14-year-old runaway in South Carolina in 1964 who follows a black fugitive woman (Jennifer Hudson) to an apiary run by three women (Queen Latifah, Sophie Okenedo and Alicia Keys) where she learns, most probably, about how bees are somehow a metaphor for everything. Just a shot in the dark here.

This falls into the general category of Southern Message Movies, like The Color Purple, Beloved and Fried Green Tomatoes, which have had varying degrees of success. This one feels rather low key and under the radar, so I suspect this will start off slow, even if legs from a positive reception could be in store. Opening in about 1,600 theaters, look for around $5 million this weekend.


This means that Beverly Hills Chihuahua's reign of terror is over, after two weeks at the top of the box office. The insipid children's film took two straight weeks at number one and is currently sitting at close to $60 million total. Have kids always been this undiscriminating? Probably, which doesn't make me feel all that much better. Look for it to come in with about $11 million this weekend.

Quarantine snuck in for second place in its debut with $14 million. The verite horror film capitalized on a fantastic premise and well cut trailer to make itself into pretty much an instantly profitable movie. As a surprise hit, it might show some legs, but that would be relative to it being a horror film, so around $8 million.

Body of Lies was a moderate disappointment for Ridley Scott, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. The techno-spy thriller was third with $12 million last weekend, well below what many might expect for an aspiring blockbuster with this kind of cast. America's war/serious spy movie aversion kicks in again. Give it $7 million this weekend.

Eagle Eye remains as the hit of fall so far, with about $70 million in the bank and some decent legs. It'll drop to about $6 million in its fourth weekend, but it's still a pretty viable choice for thrillers at the movies.

Forecast: Weekend of October 17-19, 2008
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Max Payne 3,376 New 27.4
2 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3,239 +21 11.4
3 W. 2,030 New 9.5
4 Quarantine 2,463 +2 8.4
5 Body of Lies 2,714 +4 7.3
6 Eagle Eye 3,326 -288 6.5
7 Sex Drive 2,421 New 6.0
8 The Secret Life of Bees 1,591 New 5.5
9 Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist 2,241 -180 4.0
10 Nights in Rodanthe 2,115 -460 2.9

Continued:       1       2



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