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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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Based on the true story of a biotech executive's efforts to save his children from a rare disease, Fraser, playing the exec, connects with researcher Ford who may have a radical, outside the bounds new treatment for the disease and... oh, sorry, I nodded off in the middle of writing this. Basically, it's a less exciting version of Lorenzo's Oil. How is this a movie again? Besides the overall cheapness of the movie's look, there's the fact that Harrison Ford has all but retired from being a movie star – 2008 brought a fourth Indiana Jones film but his only film last year was a straight-to-DVD release – and who ever imagined that happening to Han Solo? Fraser, meanwhile, was probably confused by not shooting any scenes in front of a green screen. Look for a fairly miserable $6 million opening weekend for this.

Which brings us back to the 500-pound blue gorilla of the box office, Avatar. It's now pretty much a fait accompli that it'll become the top grossing movie of all time both domestically and internationally – it's just $88 million short in North America and $119 million short overseas, and will pick up at least $30 million, and probably closer to $35 million this weekend. This is about as stunning a result as could have been imagined at the outset – not just that it would break Titanic's record, but that it would do it so easily.




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A lot's been made of its ticket prices inflating this total, but a) people are still willing to pay that, b) every other film had the chance to film in 3D and c) legs is legs. At this point, we're looking at a domestic total of somewhere around $700 million, and a worldwide figure of maybe $2.2 billion. It's kind of a ludicrous number to think about, but here we are.

The Book of Eli had what under normal circumstances would have been a weekend-winning debut with $32 million in three days, unfortunately bumping up against Avatar. Still, that's a pretty solid debut for a post-apocalyptic action film, and about par for the course for a Denzel Washington film. I don't anticipate great legs for this film as reaction has been mediocre, but it should earn about $18 million in weekend two.

After being dumped out of the Oscar race, few expected much of anything from Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, making its $17 million opening weekend that much more of a surprise. Neatly matching The Time Traveler's Wife's debut last summer, The Lovely Bones seems to prove that there's a decent baseline for Hollywood adaptations of acclaimed books with big name casts. I expect a second weekend of about $11 million, which will help to salvage what looked like a disaster initially.

In other returning film news, Alvin and the Chipmunks is all but certain to hit $200 million this weekend, with a decent probability of passing the first film's $217 million domestic total. Sherlock Holmes is another week behind it in making that mark, but is looking like a $225 million film. It's Complicated is about two weeks away from $100 million, and The Princess and the Frog may squeak out $100 million itself, but just barely.


Forecast: Weekend of January 22-24, 2010
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Avatar 3,141 -144 33.1
2 The Book of Eli 3,111 0 18.4
3 Tooth Fairy 3,344 New 16.3
4 The Lovely Bones 2,571 +8 11.7
5 Legion 2,476 New 8.9
6 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 2,973 -323 6.4
7 Extraordinary Measures 2,549 New 6.0
8 Sherlock Holmes 2,670 -503 5.8
9 It's Complicated 2,294 -376 5.3
10 The Spy Next Door 2,924 0 4.2

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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