Weekend Forecast for September 9-11, 2011

By Reagen Sulewski

September 8, 2011

Smallpox is winning so far.

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Directed by Gavin O'Connor, who of his work, you've heard of Miracle and vaguely remember Pride and Glory and Tumbleweeds, Warrior is getting surprisingly great reviews – like, “don't forget this film come Oscartime” reviews. That's still probably a long shot, but it makes a big difference in the film's potential when we might have simply been talking about a throwaway film built to capitalize on UFC's popularity.

That's of course a significant factor in why this film was even made, though capitalizing on societal trends is always a troublesome enterprise for Hollywood. What MMA fans are interested in are actual fights, not drama about the fighters. On the other hand, the “getting them to pay for something they get for free” problem doesn't exist here since they're already used to paying to see these fights, and $12 for a movie ticket is a bargain in comparison. This might have to be a slow build for the public at large, though, as the sport still has a poor reputation. I'd give it about $11 million to start.

In what has to be some sort of prank-gone-awry, the third new film of the week is Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star, starring Nick Swardson (don't feel bad if you've never heard of him) as the title character, a midwestern doofus who discovers that his parents were porn stars back in the '70s, and decides to follow in their footsteps. Coming out of the Adam Sandler factory (and partially penned by Sandler), the appeal of the movie stops pretty much right there, with “aggressively unfunny” being the active descriptor of it.


It's hard to describe the stony silence that greets the trailer for this film when it's aired – there's a mixture of disbelief, followed by shock, then anger that the viewer would be subjected to something like this and its collection of non-jokes and pointless crudity (as distinguished from, say, the pointed crudity of The Hangover films). The closest comparison is the collected works of Rob Schneider, but without even that name recognition – or even more directly, 2006's Grandma's Boy, which opened to just $3 million. It's hard to manage this matching even that meager figure, and it's something that Christina Ricci and Don Johnson (!) will be eager to quickly wipe off their resumes. If this manages even $2 million this weekend, you've all failed me.

Thus, the three-week reign of The Help at the top of the box office should end, though the damage is done there, with over $125 million in the bank so far. After adding almost $20 million over the Labor Day holiday, it's pretty much the unquestionable winner of late summer. Even though Planet of the Apes still has more money in the bank at the moment, it won't for that much longer, and it also cost a lot more. I'd look for this to drop to about $10 million this weekend.

The Debt overcame a smaller screen count and an attempt to bury it to be the highest earning of the three new films last weekend, with about $15 million over six days – score one for quality and the twilight of Helen Mirren's career. It's not going to make a major impact on the box office from here on out, but should see at least $6 million this weekend and could get to around $45 million domestic.

The two horror films from last weekend, Shark Night and Apollo 18 ended in a virtual tie at just under $9 million over three days, and that's probably the last we'll ever hear of these two movies. Both will be lucky to break $4 million this weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of September 9-11, 2011
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Contagion 3,222 New 23.3
2 Warrior 1,869 New 11.4
3 The Help 2,935 +92 9.8
4 The Debt 1,874 +48 6.6
5 Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2,887 -306 4.5
6 Colombiana 2,354 -260 4.2
7 Apollo 18 3,330 +2 4.0
8 Shark Night 3D 2,848 +42 3.6
9 Our Idiot Brother 2,396 -159 3.4
10 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 2,544 -463 2.8

Continued:       1       2



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