Weekend Forecast for October 2-4, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

October 2, 2009

It's the great traveling banjo and gun show! Only occasional injuries!

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That is, until Gervais comes up with the concept of lying, something so inconceivable to everyone else around him that he's able to seduce women, rob banks, and advance in his career just by saying the word. Gervais then stumbles upon the idea of the biggest lie of all... God. Aaaaand we've just lost the southern United States. Oh bother.

The idea of the film is a rich enough one that it makes just about every writer mad that they didn't come up with it first, as rich a comedy target as it is, and obvious once it's pointed out. Essentially the reverse of Liar, Liar, it's perhaps the idea of the British comedy of manners taken to its extreme. While Jim Carrey's take on the subject was a gigantic hit, Gervais' will ... not be, since he's no Jim Carrey ca. 1997, or even Jim Carrey ca. 2009, in terms of box office. That was rather clear with last year's Ghost Town, which was better than its lame premise seemed, but still only made $5 million opening weekend. The quality of this concept bodes somewhat better for The Invention of Lying, but Gervais still isn't a really trusted name Stateside. Also opening on just 1,700 screens or so, look for it to bring in $8 million.

Another directorial debut happens this weekend with Whip It, that of Drew Barrymore. Ellen Page stars as a troubled teen who joins a roller-derby league, finding a purpose and camaraderie with other women for the first time. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by a real derby girl, it's your standard validative sports-movie plot, set in an environment that hasn't really been seen on the big screen in any real fashion before, at least seriously.

Page costars with Barrymore, Kristin Wiig, Zoe Bell and Juliette Lewis, in a cast that grabs just about every "tough chick" out there, and one that has a fair bit of talent as well. It's an unassuming movie, and one that's garnered some fair reviews, but will be a bit limited for gender and obscure sport reasons. Look for around $6 million for it this weekend.


Finally, we have Michael Moore's latest polemic, Capitalism: A Love Story. No longer going after the small fries of big business, guns, or the health care system, Moore has set his sights on the underlying economic structure of Western Society. Lenin's corpse nods approvingly. Moore's last film, Sicko, came down in box office terms quite dramatically so from the peak of Fahrenheit 9/11, but compared to the rest of the documentaries out there still stands as a Mt. Whitney to 9/11's Everest.

Few documentarians could hope to reach even a tenth of his audience. Capitalism is maybe a bit more strident than anything he's ever done before, but he should still find a decently willing audience for its 900 or so screens, and bring in about $4 million this weekend and inspire innumerable calls of irony, a la Sideshow Bob appearing on television to decry it. "So don't bother pointing that out."

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had an astounding weekend holdover in its second frame, dropping just 17% to earn another $25 million and hitting $60 million total. Perhaps the first true film of this recent batch to have legs based on its 3-D tech, it's pretty much a bonafide hit at this point. It's largely losing its 3-D screens to Toy Story this weekend, so those legs probably won't hold entirely, but they won't disappear completely either. Give it $14 million this weekend.

Elsewhere among notable returning films, Bruce Willis' Surrogates should drop to about $7 million this weekend as audiences reject this sci-fi film, and Fame should see just $6 million.

Forecast: Weekend of October 2-4, 2009
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Zombieland 3,306 New 26.4
2 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,977 -142 14.3
3 Toy Story/Toy Story 2 1,745 New 8.4
4 The Invention of Lying 1,707 New 7.7
5 Surrogates 2,951 0 7.3
6 Whip It 1,720 New 6.8
7 Fame 3,103 +7 6.4
8 Capitalism: A Love Story 962 +958 4.7
9 The Informant! 2,425 -80 4.3
10 Love Happens 1,921 +23 2.9

Continued:       1       2



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