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Weekend Forecast for February 11-13, 2011

By Reagen Sulewski

February 11, 2011

Andy Roddick gonna smack Adam Sandler.

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Presenting his rise from obscurity on the mean streets of Stratford, Ontario (where the biggest calamity that might befall you is Christopher Plummer berating you for getting his coffee order wrong), to international flash-in-the-pandom, this hagiography is calculated to capitalize on the craze before it fades to obscurity, or at the minimum, he goes through an awkward young adult phase.

The obvious comparisons here are the Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers (remember them? Tick tock, Justin) concert movies, though those are on two different scales. The Hannah Montana movie opened to $31 million in 2008, but was a bit of a bait and switch, promised to be a one-weekend only event, later expanded to a regular run. The smaller phenomenon of the Jonas Brothers led to a $12 million opening. Without the false urgency of the Miley Cyrus movie, but with the boost of 3D ticket pricing, this should find its way to the upper end of that range, starting with a $24 million opening weekend.

The first major animated feature of the year, Gnomeo and Juliet, arrives in theaters after a long journey. Originally conceived nearly a decade ago, the film was shelved by Disney in 2006, then bought up by Miramax and eventually blended back into the Disney family through the Touchstone arm of the company. A retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story but with – get this! – garden gnomes, it purports to tell the story of the vicious rivalry between red-hatted and blue-hatted gnomes, and of the romance between two gnomes on each side.

Voice talent includes James McAvoy and Emily Blunt in the title roles, and Michael Caine, Jason Statham and Ozzy Osbourne for some reason, though your kids are unlikely to care about that. Let's face it – that's who this style-ripoff of Toy Story is for. Without adult audiences, this film's likely to languish, and I've seen nothing in particular to bring them in – not even the lazy pop culture references of a Shrek. Look for around $12 million this weekend.




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Straight-up action is handled by The Eagle, a film about Roman-era Britain starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. Tatum plays a young commander of a legion who sets out to restore his family's honor by recovering a golden eagle lost by his father several years before. Venturing out into the wilds of northern Britain accompanied by only a slave (uh, are you sure you've thought this one through? I'm just sayin'), he's tested by an inhospitable land and the very forces that killed his father and his men before him.

Tatum might very well be the most successful young actor that you couldn't really name anything he's been in. So far, he's been the lead but entirely forgettable in films as wide ranging as G.I. Joe and Dear John, throwing in a Step Up 1 & 2 here, a Fighting there, and smaller roles in films like Stop-Loss and The Dilemma. But could you pick him out of a lineup? Almost certainly not. He's like Mark Wahlberg without the unintentional humor or sense of danger. The biggest problem for The Eagle may come in distinguishing itself from the similarly-themed Centurion. If that one was barely better than a direct-to-video release, why is this one any different? It's hard to justify why. I see this coming in with about $6 million.

After a couple of weeks of unimpressive films, the cupboard is pretty bare for returning flicks. Both of last week's new films, The Roommate and Sanctum, are prime candidates for significant falls, being terrible movies starring no one anyone cares about (sorry, Minka). If you want to see how far The Roommate could drop, scroll down the chart from last weekend to see The Rite all the way in sixth place just a week after it won the weekend with a similar gross. Sanctum is potentially even more screwed. This films should grab just $6 and $4 million respectively.

That leaves just The King's Speech and No Strings Attached as significant grossers this weekend, with the former being the last film standing among Oscar nominees (at least until the ceremony). With around $6 million this weekend, it'll push ever closer to the $100 million mark. No Strings Attached, meanwhile, should add around $5 million, and solidify itself as a strong early year performer.


Forecast: Weekend of February 11-13, 2011
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Just Go With It 3,548 New 44.6
2 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3,105 New 24.4
3 Gnomeo and Juliet 2,994 New 12.7
4 The Eagle 2,296 New 6.5
5 No Strings Attached 2,756 -294 6.2
6 The Roommate 2,534 0 6.0
7 The King's Speech 2,263 -321 5.6
8 Sanctum 2,789 +2 4.8
9 The Green Hornet 2,090 -943 4.0
10 True Grit 2,072 -83 3.4

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