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Weekend Forecast for May 6-8, 2011

By Reagen Sulewski

May 6, 2011

What does Quo Vadimus mean again?

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Studios have become more daring about counter programming against summer blockbusters in recent years, and this weekend is no different. Two romantic comedies get thrown up against Thor with the hope that women will want to see movies this weekend too, an idea that seems radical and subversive between May and September.

Something Borrowed is an adaptation of best-selling chick lit author Emily Giffin's first novel, about 30-somethings in New York dealing with life and love. Hey, why hasn't anyone written about that before? But I kid. Ginnifer Goodwin (of Big Love and Mona Lisa Smile fame) stars as an unlucky-in-love attorney (which of course means she's a failure at life) who lives in the shadow of her more flamboyant best friend (played by Kate Hudson, strangely moving away from lead roles lately). After Hudson steals away Goodwin's long time crush (played by something Colin Egglesfield, which I refuse to believe is a real name), Goodwin must come to terms with being a second-fiddle in life, or some such nonsense. John Krasinski is also along as the harmless best friend of Goodwin, who we of course know will turn into something more by the end of the movie.

Chick lit adaptations can have widely variable results at the box office, and often depend heavily on the star power of the lead, though extremely popular source material can make a big difference. Anne Hathaway is probably the queen of these with The Devil Wears Prada, though Julia Roberts can still throw her weight around in this genre, as Eat Pray Love showed. Even terrible books with terrible timing, like Confessions of a Shopaholic can still do well, at least initially. About the only thing that kills these films is poor or limited marketing, and while Something Borrowed hasn't had the saturation blitz that some others have had, its campaign has picked up recent weeks. Goodwin isn't a star on the level of some of the other actresses I've just named, but she's on the verge. Hudson will help the film some, but audiences know when a star isn't the focus of the film, and they've wisely kept her to the background here, avoiding the bait and switch.

With the book not being quite as popular as others in this genre, and Goodwin being far less known as an actress, Something Borrowed is going to fall a little short of many other comparable films, though it's still looking like a decent earner, with about $14 million in store here.




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It says something that we've reached a point where we can plausibly have a film about blue-collar/white-collar clashes in a wedding film – and both families in question are black. That's about the only remarkable thing about Jumping the Broom, unfortunately.

Laz Alonso and Paula Patton star as a couple about to get married on Martha's Vineyard, she from an upper-class background, he from a working-class one, bringing together their families with all the inherent comedy that premise implies (which is to say, not a ton – this premise has been milked dry), tough that hasn't stopped Tyler Perry from making untold millions. Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine (of Grey's Anatomy), Mike Epps and Julie Bowen round out the cast, and this should limp in with around $11 million.

Fast Five made for an early start to summer-level box office, last weekend, opening at an eye-popping $86 million, a full $15 million over 2009's Fast & Furious, and assuring us at least a sixth entry in the franchise. Every single film in this series has had a horrific second weekend drop off, and while the competition between it and Thor is minimal, the presence of the latter isn't going to help. Fans of fast cars don't wait for the second weekend to see these films. This one may actually be good for a change, though, and any drop off from $86 million is still a pretty big number. Give it $39 million this weekend.

The remaining significant films are small in number, with Rio now showing signs of weakness after two decent weekends. It should fall to just $9 million this weekend. Water For Elephants could see a major erosion in interest because of competition from Something Borrowed, but it was headed south of $5 million anyway, as was Madea's Big Happy Family, which looks on target for the typical $50-60 million of Tyler Perry's films.


Forecast: Weekend of May 6-8, 2011
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Thor 3,955 New 70.3
2 Fast Five 3,662 +18 39.7
3 Something Borrowed 2,904 New 14.2
4 Jumping the Broom 2,035 New 10.8
5 Rio 3,258 -449 8.7
6 Water For Elephants 2,614 -206 4.8
7 Madea's Big Happy Family 1,881 -407 4.1
8 Prom 2,730 0 2.7
9 Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil 2,505 0 2.4
10 Soul Surfer 1,781 -229 2.2

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