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Weekend Forecast for February 6-8, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

February 6, 2009

Way to go, E!

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Action is handled this week by Push, whose producers are desperately hoping you don't watch NBC on Monday nights. A ragtag group of young people with special powers like telekinesis and clairvoyance (hmm...) are hunted down by a secretive government organization (HMMM...) for use in a sinister plan to change the world (I said HMMM!). Okay, so it's pretty much Heroes: The Movie, but then, the way the show is going, maybe the concept could use another hand steering the ship.

Notable cast members include Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou (playing the role of "accented Samuel L. Jackson") and Camilla Belle and a bunch of CGI. Which is what you're really here for, right? But without the ability to let characters develop, essentially compressing the first season of Heroes into two hours, it's undoubtedly going to suffer in comparison. Opening in a suspiciously low number of 2,300 or so venues, I'd look for this to come in with about $13 million.

Coraline is probably the best new movie of the weekend, so of course, I'm talking about it last. A stop-motion animated film from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and based on a Neil Gaiman book, it tells the story of a girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning, in her second role of the week) as a girl who discovers a secret portal to a parallel world where everything seems mostly the same...except people have buttons for eyes. And then things start getting creepy.

Visually inventive, and with Gaiman's able storytelling behind it, it's one of those kids films that will have a lot to offer adults as well as kids, although it's likely too intense for some of the younger tykes. But it's got cult appeal written all over it, and should start out with about $10 million.




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Last week's winner, Taken, should cede top spot after earning $24 million last weekend. Although it resulted in the birth of Liam Neeson, Action Hero, it's not about to start a phenomenon of any kind. A solid second weekend of $15 million seems in the cards.

Paul Blart resists pretty much all sense and good taste to remain a strong earner, and is closing in on the $100 million mark, leading the 2009 pack. It should get pushed out of the top five this weekend, but will still bring in around $8 million in its fourth frame.

Of the rest of the films, only Slumdog Millionaire seems able to make a significant impact on the box office. Still expanding slightly on the basis of what seems its inevitable march to a Best Picture Oscar, it's also proving to be an audience favourite, with about $70 million in the bank right now. Look for another $5-6 million. The Uninvited, Hotel For Dogs, and Gran Torino (a strange grouping of films if there ever was one) should all fall below this mark.


Forecast: Weekend of February 6-8, 2009
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 He's Just Not That Into You 3,175 New 22.7
2 The Pink Panther 2 3,243 New 17.5
3 Taken 3,184 +1 14.6
4 Push 2,313 New 12.8
5 Coraline 2,298 New 10.4
6 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3,169 -37 8.6
7 Slumdog Millionaire 1,724 +91 5.8
8 The Uninvited 2,344 0 5.2
9 Hotel For Dogs 2,734 -426 5.0
10 Gran Torino 2,705 -310 4.8

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