Weekend Forecast for January 9-11, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

January 9, 2009

Both of them should know that Rachel is the only one getting married.

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Expanding into wide release is Gran Torino, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Basically his last toss into the ring for an acting Oscar, Eastwood plays a racist war veteran who interrupts some gang activity in his neighborhood and winds up a local hero. He also winds up taking a young Hmong teenager under his wing, mostly against his better judgment, after he attempts to make up for stealing his car as part of a gang initiation. Eastwood's vet is still a tough old bastard, and decides that he can do more than just sit and watch his neighborhood disintegrate around him, and does what he knows best – fights.

If you're thinking this is Dirty Harry: The Twilight Years, you're probably not too far off. For some bizarre reason, they actually even put Eastwood yelling "Get off my lawn!" in the ads, which is not too far up there as threats go, even from Eastwood.

The second of Eastwood's films to come out this year, it's faring a little better critically than Changeling, though more in the acting than the picture category. It's also performed decently in limited release, pulling in almost $10 million so far, making me think that there's a lot of people out there still wanting to see Eastwood in one of his older-style roles. Expanding to 2,800 screens or so, I see this coming in with $11 million.

This brings us to our returning films, which are dominated by family releases. Unfortunately for them, this is usually the time they'll see a dropoff, as kids get back to school. It doesn't have to, as Night at the Museum showed, but it's a pretty common occurance. Still, Marley & Me can't complain after bringing in over $100 million so far based on the idea of a misbehaving golden lab. I see this adding about $14 million to its total this weekend.


Bedtime Stories, Adam Sandler`s attempt to make himself into a family entertainer, should come in right behind that with $12 million, passing $100 million itself with its fantastic (in the old style of the world) stories.

This brings us to the films for adults, like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, Yes Man, and Seven Pounds, the remainder of the interest films in terms of box office. Button has held up quite strongly, and is the sole one of these films that has a realistic shot at Best Picture contention (and in fact, a very strong one). A very long film, it's been handicapped by limited showings, though that in principle can help with legs, but shunting people to the following weeks. I see it earning about $11 million this weekend, and will be just shy of the $100 million mark itself.

Valkyrie has held up surprisingly well given its subject matter (Nazis) and its star, Tom Cruise, who's been an enormously polarizing figure in the last five years. I see it adding about $8 million to its total, just ahead of Yes Man, another film that's seen its star's luster dim. Meanwhile there's Seven Pounds, which has one of the truest box office stars out there right now in Will Smith, but has struggled due to its strange ad campaign that left audiences out in the cold and not really caring. I see it coming in with about $6 million in this weekend, its fourth.

Forecast: Weekend of January 9-11, 2009
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Bride Wars 3,226 New 16.8
2 Marley & Me 3,478 -27 14.2
3 Bedtime Stories 3,511 -173 12.4
4 The Unborn 2,356 New 11.6
5 Gran Torino 2,808 +2,754 11.3
6 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2,947 -41 11.1
7 Valkyrie 2,838 +60 8.7
8 Yes Man 2,955 -479 8.3
9 Seven Pounds 2,456 -302 5.9
10 Doubt 1,287 0 4.1

Continued:       1       2



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