Weekend Forecast for Dec. 25-28, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

December 24, 2008

Now do I look like Felicity?

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The Spirit is the story of a rookie cop who takes on a city full of corruption and populated by strange, kooky villains. Stop me if this sounds familiar. It's quite tongue-in-cheek, however, and the movie seems to take it all the way out to "cheesy" and "corny". Samuel L. Jackson as the villain The Octopus is a classic example of this, hamming up with gusto.

Relative unknown Gabriel Macht stars as the lead character, with a bevy of beauties, including Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes and Sarah Paulson making the film a little more tolerable. But audiences so rarely respond to ironic films unless they have "Movie" in the title. This feels like a big mistake overall, and we should see a $6 million take for The Spirit.

Doubt expands to 1,200 venues this weekend, making a serious push for Oscars. The drama, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, centers on a power struggle inside a Catholic Church in the 1960s, between a young, innovating priest and an old-guard nun. When the priest is suspected of something...untoward, the nun uses it as an attempt to shove him out the door and keep control of the church. Adams is the young nun caught between the two and used as a pawn in their power play.

Based on the director's own stage play, it's been receiving pretty strong reviews and has made some impact in limited release, hitting 15th place last week on 39 screens. With this expansion, it should come up to about $4 million over four days.


The star-studded openers from last week should see a boost from the holidays, with very small drops and possibly even increases in the cards. Yes Man seems more likely to get a boost, as the biggest comedy aimed at adults alone. However, it's probably not enough to turn Jim Carrey's latest in to a proper hit. Give it $22 million over four days.

Seven Pounds now finds itself in a very crowded drama marketplace, with not much to distinguish it from other stuff. Will Smith's cryptically-advertised film just didn't grab people, and I don't see the view of it improving with competition out there from Benjamin Button, Valkyrie and Doubt. I see about $15 million in its second week.

The Tale of Despereaux might be in tough as well against Bedtime Stories, though it's different enough that it might not suffer, and could definitely benefit from sellouts. It's already seen some upticks in the weekday figures. After a $10 million opening weekend, it could bounce up to $13 million this frame.

Adding to this glut are Four Christmases, which has the right theme and decent enough word-of-mouth, Twilight, which might be a chance for teens to escape their parents for a couple of hours, and The Day The Earth Stood Still, which is in free fall. All three should be in the $5 to $7 million range.

Forecast: Weekend of Dec. 25-28, 2008
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Bedtime Stories 3,681 New 50.4
2 Marley & Me 3,480 New 24.3
3 Yes Man 3,434 No Change 22.1
4 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2,988 New 17.6
5 Seven Pounds 2,758 No Change 14.9
6 Valkyrie 2,711 New 14.5
7 The Tale of Despereaux 3,104 No Change 13.2
8 Four Christmases 2,510 -1,005 7.9
9 Twilight 1,849 -1,142 6.5
10 The Spirit 2,509 New 6.2
11 The Day the Earth Stood Still 2,402 -1,158 5.8
12 Bolt 1,923 -1,045 5.5
13 Doubt 1,267 +1,228 4.7
14 Slumdog Millionaire 614 +25 4.0
15 Milk 311 -45 2.5

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