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Weekend Forecast for June 4-6, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

June 4, 2010

Wow, those Grey's Anatomy writers are saying terrible things about you on the Internet.

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua’s greater success in the animated atrocity market can probably be explained by its connection to Disney, which neither this film nor Hotel For Dogs share. Still, this kind of film gets eaten up by kids, and even if adults will avoid it like tax time, Marmaduke should still grab an opening weekend of about $17 million.

Get Him to the Greek is that rarest of movie beasts, the spin-off. Russell Brand returns as his break-out character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a boorish, drug-fueled rock star who somehow remained pretty sympathetic. Jonah Hill confusingly plays his sidekick in this movie, but not as the same sycophantic character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall – rather, he plays an entirely different sycophantic character.

He’s tasked (by Puff Daddy!) with bringing Brand’s character from England to Los Angeles in 48 hours for a concert that might save his career. Sounds easy enough, right? Not if the person you’re ferrying has the mental focus of a six-year-old and the libido of… well, a British rock star. Wacky hijinks ensue and lessons are learned.

Wildly famous in the UK, Brand is still something of a wildcard in the US, despite his scene stealing performance in Marshall. And of those that do know him, a large proportion think he’s an intolerable douche. His co-star might be more familiar by sight, but he’s still “that chubby, weird guy from Superbad”. Teaming these two up for a road trip movie makes a certain kind of sense from a comedy standpoint, but doesn’t seem likely to yield mega-bucks. Reviews have been fairly kind to the film but it might be a case where they’ve had difficulty advertising the R-rated material effectively, as the ads have been rather listless. I’d look for about $16 million here this weekend.

The final new film of the week is Splice, a sci-fi horror film starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody. The pair star as biologists who defy a medical research ban and create a human hybrid life form, which then runs amok, as all such creatures do. Basically it’s Species without the alien part.




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Directed by Vincenzo Natali of Cube-fame, it’s being praised as a smart sci-fi film that eventually devolves into stock horror clichés. Sadly, just this probably makes it one of the better quality horror films in some time, and also, one of the least likely to succeed. While its ads are solid, they don’t make a splash and its leads aren’t the kind of names that create a draw. A major wide release such as it’s getting is pretty much a triumph already. Think about $10 million for its debut.

Shrek Forever After pulled off a minor upset by retaining the top spot at the box office for a second straight weekend, and not actually dropping into oblivion. A lot of this can be pinned on Memorial Day Weekend, making a repeat unlikely as the piper has to be paid after these weekends. In other words, don’t expect that result to save Shrek relative to expectations. Perhaps counter-intuitively, with this week slate out there this weekend, it might still earn enough to win the weekend overall. A figure of $22 million might be enough to hold off Killers, Marmaduke and Greek and make let it back into three straight weekends at the top.

To explain it in the vernacular of its audience, Sex and the City 2 will be having a two-thirds off sale this weekend. Its opening weekend was really a one-day phenomenon, as it fell off on each consecutive day, only matching the opening weekend of the first film on its seventh full day of release. Bilious reviews and just plain franchise fatigue knee-capped this film from the word go. The first film dropped over 60% in its second weekend – imagine how ugly this one could get. A $10 million weekend isn’t out of the question here.

Prince of Persia will probably look like E.T. in comparison. It nearly snuck out a win over Sex and the City in the boys vs. girls cage match, but its $30 million opening weekend is cold comfort considering the $150 million plus it cost to make, and the fact that it torpedoes Jake Gyllenhaal's budding action movie career. Word-of-mouth is pretty blah, which is certainly better than raw hatred (like what faces Sex and the City 2) but won’t lead to anything special. Look for just $15 million this weekend.

Iron Man 2, which looked to be in some trouble as far as reaching the $300 million milestone a couple of weeks ago, has moved a lot closer to being able to reach that thanks to an okay Memorial Day Weekend. Barring an epic collapse, it should be in striking distance with a $9 million result in its fifth frame, which will help put a little more positive spin on future Marvel Avengers products.The same can’t quite be said for Robin Hood, which now looks like a longshot for $100 million, and should see about $5 million this weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of June 4-6, 2010
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Shrek Forever After 4,386 +19 22.4
2 Killers 2,859 New 19.6
3 Marmaduke 3,213 New 16.9
4 Get Him to the Greek 2,696 New 16.1
5 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 3,646 0 15.3
6 Splice 2,450 New 10.3
7 Sex and the City 2 3,445 0 10.1
8 Iron Man 2 3,007 -797 8.7
9 Robin Hood 2,581 -792 4.9
10 Letters to Juliet 1,962 -863 3.3

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