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Weekend Forecast for March 27-29, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

March 27, 2009

You have to kiss a lot of whatever-that-is to find your prince.

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Former WWE wrestler John Cena stars in 12 Rounds, the final new wide release this weekend. Directed by Renny Harlin (and how far has he fallen?) and sharing a producer with Speed, the film has Cena as a cop whose girlfriend (Ashley Scott) is kidnapped by someone whom he once put in jail. To get her back, he's made to go through a dozen different tests, all designed to kill him before he can complete them.

Sort of a hybrid of Speed and Die Hard, 12 Rounds is kind of a throwback to the kind of gimmicky action films they made in the 1990s. With a better known lead actor, I'd probably give this a decent chance of breaking out, but I think we're pretty limited here. Cena's first film, The Marine, actually did better than one might expect, opening to $7 million, but his acting seems to redefine wooden. This film feels like a make-or-break moment for Cena, and will tell if he can break into the Jason Statham range, or whether he's doomed to low budget and/or Cinemax fare. I see a little jump to about $9 million, but that's probably not enough to make the difference for his career.

Last week's number one film was Knowing, a two-hour money shot fest starring Nicolas Cage. At $24 million, this was a rare Nic Cage film that wasn't feast or famine, but rather, sort of average on its opening weekend. Word-of-mouth is sort of mixed, which is as good as saying it's going to see a pretty big drop off this weekend. It should come in with about $13 million for its second frame.

I Love You, Man, has some decent chance for legs as a comedy, though that's always kind of a dice roll. The Paul Rudd/Jason Segel film about male bonding opened to close to $18 million, which is sort of the standard figure for both of those actors' films these days. Although not actually an Apatow-crew film, it shares much of the same sensibilities and actors, and could act the same. This means about a $60-70 million total, which would be backed up by an $11 million second weekend.




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Duplicity was a mild disappointment for some with a $14 million opening weekend. More is generally thought of for a Julia Roberts film, but that's also more for romantic comedies. Clive Owen continues to be something of a non-factor in box office, and is a puzzling Russell Crowe-like polarizing figure. With mostly positive, but not effusive word-of-mouth, it shouldn't fall off too badly, but this caper film's fate is basically set. Give it $8 million this weekend.

Following that is Race to Witch Mountain, which didn't hold well in its first weekend, falling almost 50%. It gets no break this weekend with Monsters vs. Aliens going against it, though some bounce back seems likely. Give it $7 million this weekend, bringing it up to $55 million total.

Finally, Watchmen exits the top five this weekend after three weeks, and just now nudging over the $100 million mark after opening with $55 million. The challenging comic film never truly won over any audiences besides the already committed, though given the difficulty in selling this film – which contains no recognizable characters and no stars in the cast – the $115 or so million it will end with seems pretty significant.


Forecast: Weekend of March 27-29, 2009
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Monsters vs. Aliens 4,104 New 48.6
2 Knowing 3,337 +5 13.4
3 The Haunting in Connecticut 2,732 New 13.3
4 I Love You, Man 2,717 +6 11.5
5 12 Rounds 2,331 New 8.9
6 Duplicity 2,579 +5 8.3
7 Race to Witch Mountain 3,268 +81 7.5
8 Taken 1,961 -700 3.0
9 Watchmen 2,010 -1,500 3.0
10 The Last House on the Left 2,250 -153 2.4

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