Max Braden's March 2009 Forecast
By Max Braden
March 6, 2009
Weekend Starting March 20Duplicity
The buzz about Closer may have been Natalie Portman as a stripper, but the appreciation was all about Julia Roberts and Clive Owen at each other's throats. This one's a light-hearted caper like Ocean's 11 so it stands to make a lot more money from general audiences. Duplicity may have had more box office potential if Clooney had been cast opposite Roberts, but I think Owen will find the right chemistry since he's worked with her before. It should make people forget The International's weak box office. Plus, any trailer featuring Julia Roberts laughing automatically equals a bonus $5 million from Oprah's audience. Plus, anything written or directed by Tony Gilroy automatically gets me in the seat.
Forecast: $29 million.
I Love You, Man
For some reason, with Jason Segel and Paul Rudd in the cast, I just assumed this was a Judd Apatow project. It's not, but John Hamburg's previous writing credits include Meet the Parents (& Fockers), Zoolander, and Along Came Polly. Larry Levin also wrote Eddie Murphy's Dr. Doolittle movies, which opened in the high 20s. Were it not for the oddly low $17 million opening for Forgetting Sarah Marshall with Jason Segel as the star, I'd be thinking closer to Paul Blart's $32 million.
Forecast: $22 million.
For every National Treasure or Ghost Rider Nicolas Cage has it seems he's got a Next and Bangkok Dangerous. The trailer for this end of the world thriller looks spiffier than his previous two bombs, and it's got director Alex Proyas, who directed I, Robot. But the writers have a weak pedigree and that's not a good sign. Audiences also didn't take to Jim Carrey's more psychological thriller The Number 23 very well. This movie comes from Summit Entertainment, which most recently distributed Push ($10 million opening) and Twilight ($70 million). I'm thinking the buzz on Knowing isn't going to be near Twilight's.
Forecast: $20 million.
Weekend Starting March 27Monsters vs. Aliens
Dreamworks Animation has been on a roll lately with Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar 2. The trailer had lots of awareness because of its Superbowl presentation in 3D, and the response I've seen to the trailer has been really positive. I wouldn't immediately know any of the voice cast, but Seth Rogen's voice is recognizable as the one for the likeliest most popular character. And Fox has done well with March releases for its two Ice Age movies, with the second one opening at $68 million. Go big or go home, aliens.
Forecast: $70 millon
Renny Harlin's most recent directorial effort was actually Cleaner, starring Samuel L. Jackson, which went straight-to-video. I'm guessing John Cena's wrestling fans are the only reason this one made it into theatrical release. Cena's first movie, The Marine, only opened to $7 million and there's no reason to think this will do any better. Even the wrestling fans will probably be at Monsters vs. Aliens.
Forecast: $5 million.