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Weekend Forecast for September 18-20, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

September 18, 2009

This is the only way Five Guys could be better.

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We're all the way down to the third release of the weekend before we get to a real legitimate A-lister in a film, that being Matt Damon in The Informant!, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Based on the true story of a corporate whistle-blower in an agri-foods price-fixing scheme, Damon plays the title character, a deeply troubled executive who's morally opposed to what his company is doing, but is somewhat...flexible in his own personal moral views.

The film is a darkly comic take on corporate crime, but also of self-delusion and the culture of importance, as Damon's character creates bigger and bigger lies to justify his actions that turn him into just as much of a criminal as the company he's exposing.

Damon's virtually unrecognizable here, with some horrible 1990s clothing and a ridiculous moustache that probably deserves an Oscar nomination itself, and that's going to make it difficult for the film to really capitalize on Damon's starpower. But then, it's not really trying to. The Bourne films are about a million miles away from this, cinematically. An obvious comparison here is something like Burn After Reading, which used Brad Pitt and George Clooney in decidedly non-starlike ways. That managed a $19 million opening, but had a bit more broad comedy behind it in its ads. There's no home run like Pitt jogging like a dork on a treadmill for this film. Still, I'd say we're looking at a decent opening for this film of about $14 million.

Asking four films to do well in a weekend is a tough prospect. There's usually just not enough mindspace to go around in a given week to support that many releases. That makes Love Happens into the odd-film-out this weekend. It stars Aaron Eckhart as a self-help book author who falls for one of his fans, played by Jennifer Aniston.




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Both characters are dealing with loss and difficulties in their love life, and the film pushes them together with the typical roadblocks of a weepie romantic film. Aniston's had two of her biggest hits in the last year, with Marley & Me and He's Just Not That Into You hitting the $140 and $90 million marks respectively, but this one looks like a swing and a miss. The generic title notwithstanding, straight romances are firing at a smaller target, and studio support for this is minimal, with only around 1,900 venues getting the film. Don't be surprised to see this limp in with about $7 million.

Tyler Perry struck gold yet again with I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which opened to $23 million. A bit of a return to the mean after the stunning breakout of Madea Goes to Jail, this film, more of a musical than any of Perry's prior efforts, should still follow the familiar pattern of huge drop-offs in business in week two. $9 million or less is entirely feasible here.

The confusingly titled 9 (not District 9, or the upcoming Nine, nor $9.99 – it's a nightmare year for title collision) was the weekend's second place finisher with, well, $10 million (way to ruin it, guys). An animated adventure film aimed at a more mature audience than the typical CGI stuff, it failed to connect as a fall action film. It's got some potential for "unappreciated genius" status thanks to its visual elements, but storywise it seems to be a bit of a bust. Although it's adding several hundred screens this weekend, there's still a big tumble coming for it, to about $5 million.

The last of the summer films are just about being chased out of the top 10, with Inglorious Basterds holding down the fort for a little bit more. It should probably become Quentin Tarantino's highest grossing film ever by Friday, at latest by Saturday, but will top out not too far after, at around $120 million. Nothing else seems primed to make even $3 million this weekend and we'll bid adieu to summer's roster for good by next weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of September 18=20, 2009
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3,119 New 26.6
2 Jennifer's Body 2,701 New 18.3
3 The Informant! 2,505 New 14.8
4 I Can Do Bad All By Myself 2,255 0 9.3
5 Love Happens 1,898 New 6.7
6 9 2,060 +399 5.4
7 Inglorious Basterds 2,519 -696 3.6
8 All About Steve 2,159 -106 3.1
9 The Final Destination 1,805 -927 2.4
10 Whiteout 2,745 0 2.3

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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