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Weekend Forecast for March 20-22, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

March 20, 2009

Aw, they bought a puppy together. Cutest couple ever!

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Owen, on the other hand, continues to be a bit of an enigma – extremely popular among a small group of fans, but sort of despised by a larger number, and unknown to an even larger group still. A similar but less comedic film from him in The International was a slight flop this year, though as a co-lead or supporting character, he's a stronger presence.

Ads for Duplicity have been understated but quietly brilliant, playing up the chemistry between the two leads and their shenanigans. I think it makes for a film that a number of people may take a "wait and see" attitude towards, which could depress the opening weekend, but may lead to some decent legs if it's worthy. Look for an opening weekend of $17 million.

Opening widest this weekend is Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Alex Proyas. After a time capsule is opened at his school, Cage's character discovers that a cryptic note that seems to indicate the date and fatalities for every major catastrophe since it was placed in the ground. What's spookier is that there are still future dates on it, and Cage comes to believe that he has a role in either preventing – or maybe causing – these predicted events.

Disaster porn in almost the purest sense, Knowing plays a bit like a hybrid of two of Cage's other films, National Treasure and Next. Of course, one of those films was a huge success that spawned a franchise and the other was a notorious flop, so it's not like it makes it easy on us for a prediction. I think the concept is a little easier to grasp than Next, but not as fun as National Treasure. The effects, which include train and plane crashes, and what seems like nuclear annihilation of a city, should bring in some, but the concept seems a little dated. It is the most impressive movie transplanted from 1998 that's opening this year. Debuting in 3,400-plus venues, I'll predict it to open with about $15 million.




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Race to Witch Mountain is the most significant holdover from last weekend, after winning the box office charts with $24 million in its debut. The remake of a 70s Disney classic starring The Rock performed to about its expectations, pulling in both preteens and their parents. Kids films are no longer the dead solid lock for legs that they once were, but the critical reception on this one seems strong enough that it should have at least one more decent weekend. Look for around $14 million in this case.

Watchmen plummeted by two-thirds from its first to second weekend, which basically everyone saw coming. The greasiest of greasy fanboy movies, Watchmen quickly ran through its loyal supporters on weekend number one, leaving few to keep it propped up in following weeks. In a sense, though, this is probably the best-case scenario, or close to it, given the material. Add another $8 million to its total on the way to a $115 million finish.

Another candidate for a huge fall is Last House on the Left, which opened to $14 million, both by the virtue of it being a horror film, and also since it's apparently pretty awful. Yet another in the line of torture porn films, it should see a fall to around $5 million.

Taken should finally drop out of the top five this weekend, but its remarkable run has earned it over $125 million so far, with it only once so far seeing its weekend take fall by more than 25%, and with four of less than 20%. That it's done this as an action film is even stranger. Somewhere between $5 and 6 million is likely yet again.


Forecast: Weekend of March 20-22, 2009
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 I Love You, Man 2,711 New 21.3
2 Duplicity 2,575 New 17.6
3 Knowing 3,332 New 15.0
4 Race to Witch Mountain 3,187 0 14.4
5 Watchmen 3,510 -101 7.8
6 Taken 2,661 -197 5.7
7 The Last House on the Left 2,403 +2 5.2
8 Slumdog Millionaire 2,067 -511 3.9
9 Madea Goes to Jail 1,835 -568 3.4
10 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 1,762 -519 2.5

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