Weekend Forecast for October 16-18, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

October 16, 2009

Way to make the bird feel unloved.

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The next two films are quite a bit less interesting but could still play a role in the weekend. Law Abiding Citizen seems to start from the question, "Hey, what if John Doe was the good guy in Se7en?" Gerard Butler stars as a man out for revenge after his wife and daughter are killed, and one of the killers is given a plea bargain. His target is not just the killers, but also the whole justice system, or at least the district attorney, played by Jamie Foxx. Somehow, he's still able to enact his plan from behind bars, and appears unstoppable. He has one simple demand: let me go free.

It's kind of a ridiculous premise if you stop to think about it for more than a second, which is probably more than the producers of this film can really ask for. Butler keeps being cast in these marginal projects (see: earlier this fall's Gamer) and Foxx has more or less dropped off the map as a lead since his Oscar win. This year's The Soloist was a rather impressive flop, and he's not asked to do much here other than play a helpless foil. Ultimately this looks like a fairly ridiculous thriller, and should see an opening weekend of just over $8 million.

Some movies just couldn't have worse timing. The Stepfather thought it had the pre-Halloween horror crowd all to itself, until an upstart little indie film came through and stole its thunder. Now, it was never going to be all that huge of a film, as the remake of a largely forgotten '80s horror flick, but it at least had a chance. Now, its crowd has been stolen to be curious about this new phenomenon of Paranormal Activity, and this film will be lucky to get the time of day. Looking terrible and not being screened for critics doesn't help either. This will be a rare horror bomb and should see just $5 million.


Last weekend, audiences defied the critics and sent Couples Retreat to the top of the box office with $34 million. I hope they feel kind of silly about that. Really, the figure is fairly understandable – the cast was strong for a couples comedy and there were two or three solid gags in the commercials, usually all that's needed – but legs really don't appear to be much of an option here. Look for a second weekend of around $16 million.

Zombieland, despite being a horror-comedy, had a respectably strong second weekend, with just under $15 million and moving over the $50 million mark mid-week. Even though it was fairly successful off the bat, it still caught a lot of people by surprise and has earned some strong word-of mouth. That should carry over into its third week, with about $9 million in store here.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs could be hurt by Where the Wild Things Are this weekend, but still has the 3-D factor to lean back on, as well as the fact that it's already got $100 million in the bank. Really there's not much left to say about this film other than "good job". Give it $7 million for the weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of October 16-18, 2009
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Where the Wild Things Are 3,735 New 37.8
2 Paranormal Activity 760 +600 18.9
3 Couples Retreat N/A N/A 16.7
4 Zombieland N/A N/A 9.6
5 Law Abiding Citizen 2,889 New 8.3
6 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs N/A N/A 7.0
7 Toy Story/Toy Story 2 N/A N/A 4.9
8 The Stepfather 2,734 New 4.7
9 Surrogates N/A N/A 2.8
10 The Invention of Lying N/A N/A 1.9

Continued:       1       2



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