Weekend Forecast for December 11-13, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

December 11, 2009

They think he's young, thin Elvis. And straight. Those poor, deluded women.

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Eastwood's found some source of inspiration or work ethic in the last few years, with this being his ninth film this decade, and the sixth to make some kind of Oscar noise. Invictus is a little different than the rest of them, combining the sports biopic with the political message film. It also has to seem a bit weird to South Africans to have two of their national heroes played by Americans, but such is the fact of the marketplace.

While the full story of Mandela's life is probably too big for just one two-hour movie, this seems on the surface to be almost a trivial episode in his life to try and sum up the man, meaningful as these events are to South Africans. It is, however, easy enough to grasp and sum up in a tagline, and Mandela's enough of a respected figure for audiences to care about him. Opening on a smallish 2,100 or so screens, Invictus has the right amount of star power and story to still open very well, and should hit about $22 million in its debut.

Among returning films, The Blind Side still looks to be quite strong after wrenching top spot away from New Moon last weekend. It seems easily set to become Sandra Bullock's highest grossing film, although that's a record that was just set earlier this year with The Proposal. This seems to be a perfect holiday film, though, and should stick around well during the holidays. Give it $13 million for this weekend.


Meanwhile, New Moon has gone into freefall since its monumental opening weekend, its $15 million third weekend just barely more than 10% of its debut. This is about a week ahead of schedule compared to Twilight, and puts it close to par with X-Men: The Last Stand, as far as major openings and steep declines go. As remarkable as that film's opening weekend was, it seems like it may have to struggle to reach $300 million and will need help from Christmas week business to get there. This redefines front-loaded blockbusters. Give it about $6 million this frame.

The grim Brothers was a bit of a surprise in third place last weekend with $9.5 million. Starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, the Afghanistan-war drama managed to move past its downbeat story of a family torn apart by war and betrayal to become a modest success. It'll probably take some Oscar nominations to really make this a "hit", though $50 million isn't out of the question here.

A Christmas Carol has just one more week of IMAX dominance before Avatar steals all its screens like an elementary school bully at lunchtime. With a weekend total around $5 million this weekend, it's looking less and less likely that it'll have that much needed Christmas kick-up in business, or if it does, that it'll be that significant.

In limited release notes, George Clooney begins his next quest for an Oscar with Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, which starts in 72 theaters, while Peter Jackson returns to more grounded stories with The Lovely Bones, a book-based thriller/drama, that starts in just three locations.

Forecast: Weekend of December 11-13, 2009
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 The Princess and the Frog 3,434 +3,432 31.4
2 Invictus 2,125 New 21.1
3 The Blind Side 3,388 +62 13.7
4 New Moon 3,635 -489 6.4
5 Brothers 2,088 0 6.2
6 A Christmas Carol 2,402 -144 5.6
7 Old Dogs 3,090 -335 3.5
8 2012 2,838 -382 3.1
9 Armored 1,919 +4 2.5
10 Ninja Assassin 2,100 -403 2.5

Continued:       1       2



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