Weekend Forecast for January 15-18, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

January 15, 2010

Great. I'm trapped in a cut scene from Resident Evil 5.

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The Lovely Bones expands into wide release, after a curiously extended limited release. This is Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel about a young girl's murder and the both literal and metaphorical ways she haunts her family. Jackson returns to his Heavenly Creatures style of blending fantasy and reality to portray the world that Susie Salmon (played by Saorise Ronan) inhabits after she's murdered by neighbor Stanley Tucci. In the real world, her family, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon obsess over her death, at turns tearing her family apart.

Reviews for the film have been middling to poor for the most part, and what seemed like a likely Oscar contender has disappeared from the conversation even with ten nominees this year. Paramount is now left to try and salvage the campaign for an Oscar-type film without the benefit of Oscar buzz. The most similar recent movie to it on the surface is The Time Traveler's Wife, though the mystery/dead child aspect is a much tougher sell than a romance. It's made just $500,000 in its limited release so far and things don't look great for this expansion. I'd look for $6 million in three days, $7 million in four, for The Lovely Bones.

This brings us to Avatar, of which there's not a lot new left to be said. Now at the $450 million mark domestically and a stunning $1.4 billion worldwide, the talk about it passing Titanic is no longer the crazy ramblings of a street person. Although it had some help from Christmas week, the 35% its weekend figure has fallen would be great if it happened over one weekend – instead this is over four. Put whatever credit you want towards the 3D aspect of the film (it's a lot – but then why didn't other films use 3D?) and higher ticket prices, but these are simply astounding legs, the likes of which seem to come around once every three or four years, or once a decade for a blockbuster.


Eventually, it's going to lose these 3D screens but until then it's a major force to be reckoned with. If The Book of Eli performs to expectations, Avatar's going to be neck and neck with it for the top spot – if Eli falters, it's an easy win for Avatar. As it is, look for a narrow win with $42 million over four days for the big blue people.

Two Christmas openers, Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, lost basically all momentum post-holidays, tumbling over 50% each. Neither film is hurting and each will cross the $200 million mark with ease, but the significant parts of their runs are both over. Give them each $9 million.

Daybreakers managed an okay $15 million opening weekend, given its lack of star power and the burned-out genre of vampire action it inhabits. Despite decent reviews and word-of-mouth, I don't expect any legs for this – genre fans are always out there on first weekends. Give it $7 million in the second weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of January 15-18, 2010
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Avatar 3,285 -137 42.2
2 The Book of Eli 3,111 New 40.9
3 The Spy Next Door 2,924 New 15.3
4 Sherlock Holmes 3,173 -453 9.8
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 3,296 -345 9.6
6 It's Complicated 2,670 -285 7.3
7 The Lovely Bones 2,563 +2,560 7.1
8 Daybreakers 2,523 0 7.0
9 Leap Year 2,512 +1 5.6
10 The Blind Side 2,408 -472 5.1

Continued:       1       2



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