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Weekend Forecast for January 22-24, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

January 22, 2010

My check better clear.

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Last week, Avatar faced its first competition for the top spot at the box office since Christmas. Although The Book of Eli took its best shot, it was well short. The collection of stiffs this weekend are even less of a challenge for Avatar to overcome.

For the second straight week, we have an action star embarrassing himself in a head-scratching concept for a kids movie. Compared to The Spy Next Door, Tooth Fairy steps up both the fame of the star and the embarrassment of the concept. Dwayne Johnson stars as a crass and jerkish minor-league hockey player who after a shocking incident of insensitivity is sentenced to a week as an actual Tooth Fairy (see, because hockey players often lose teeth, and ... oh, kill me). Oh yeah, they're real in this world and are led by Julie Andrews, who's a long ways from Mary Poppins here.

As horrible as this looks to right-thinking adults, kids seem to eat this kind of crap up (see: The Pacifier, The Game Plan, Daddy Day Care), although Tooth Fairy doesn't have the muscle of Disney behind it, which launched The Gameplan to $22 million and Race to Witch Mountain to $24 million. Still, enough dumb kids (and I am talking about the really dumb ones here) just want to see The Rock acting silly that this won't be an outright flop and might even do marginally well. For some reason, the population that wants to see Dwayne Rock in a tutu is a positive number. Opening at 3,344 venues, Tooth Fairy should manage about $16 million this weekend.

Continuing the theme of repeating last week's films, Legion follows The Book of Eli's post-apocalyptic world with an actual apocalypse. See, it seems God's had enough of us, and is sending his angels to wipe humanity off the face of the Earth. One rogue angel (Paul Bettany) has come down to protect us, or rather specifically, one woman's (Adrienne Palicki) baby, who may just turn out to be a new Savior. How's he going to do that? With a crapload of guns, of course.




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Setting aside the dodgy theology, it's kind of ballsy to make a film that posits God as the bad guy and send it out to 2,500 multiplexes in this current environment. Unfortunately, it's a bit silly looking, with some amateurish looking effects and wirework, and that laugh-inspiring shock scene with the evil grandma in the trailer.

In a way, it's just operating on the other side of the street to vampire action films like Daybreakers and Underworld, with absurd gunfights involving supernatural creatures and elaborate mythologies. Paul Bettany is really no one's idea of an action star, though, and I think audiences smell a stinker. I'd look for just $9 million for Legion this weekend.

If the third new film this week, Extraordinary Measures, looks to you like it should premiering on a Saturday night on CBS – well, you're not far off on that. The first feature film from CBS's feature film wing, it has an almost unmistakable sheen of TV movie, despite a cast that includes Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser.


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