Weekend Forecast for September 9-11, 2005

By Tim Briody

September 9, 2005

Constant blessings on the set of The Man failed to halt the unholy abomination

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If it's the start of the fall movie season, somebody forgot to tell Hollywood. Two weak-looking openers take to theaters while The Transporter 2 looks to avoid a huge second weekend drop.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is both a horror film and courtroom drama, though it's hard to tell the last part from the television commercials. Loosely based on a true story, it stars Laura Linney as a lawyer defending the priest (Tom Wilkinson) held responsible for the death of the title character, who may or may not have been possessed. Your typical posession plot is laid out in flashback form with some court scenes providing the framework.

Last year's Exorcist: The Beginning managed $18.1 million opening weekend despite starring absolutely nobody and a 9% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. While Emily Rose is fairing a bit better in the review department, the stars here don't really set too many barns on fire here and last year's movie did serve as a pseudo-sequel to The Exorcist. Opening in a fairly wide 2,981 theaters, look for The Exorcism of Emily Rose to earn around $12 million, which is probably good enough to win the weekend.

In this month's edition of "they needed the money that badly?" Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy star in buddy comedy The Man. Of course, Jackson is the cop and Levy, essentially playing the same character in Bringing Down the House, is the guy caught in the middle of the sting, and lots of wacky hijinks ensue. Unsurprisingly, The Man is getting absolutely slaughtered by critics.

Jackson had a decent outing in January with Coach Carter, but has remarkably few hits in the last few years, not counting the Star Wars prequels. Levy's last film was the Olsen Twins' flop New York Minute and he probably asks his agent daily about the status of American Pie 4. New Line clearly senses a big bomb here and is hedging its bets with a release barely over 2,000 screens. Call it $7 million and a movie neither lead will cop to starring in six months from now.

After The Constant Gardener ostensibly started the Academy Awards season last weekend, another hopeful follows this week. Opening in limited release, An Unfinished Life stars Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman and is directed by Lasse Halstrom, his first film since 2001's The Shipping News. Oddly, the newest film from the director of The Cider House Rules and Chocolat is getting very mixed reviews from critics, with some fawning over it and others dismissing it as overly saccharine and predictible. In fewer than 200 screens, any awards hopes An Unfinished Life might have are dependent on its box office. A solid per screen average keeps it a contender, but anything mediocre will save Miramax from having to run any For Your Consideration... ads.

The Transporter 2 was the rare big winner over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with $16 million over the weekend and $20.1 million over the four days. That's an impressive increase considering The Transporter grossed $25 million in its entire run. The 2002 release dropped 44% in its second weekend, but I can't see anything under 50% for the Transporter 2 in weekend number two. Look for it to take in around $7.5 million this weekend.

The Constant Gardener performed admirably over the Labor Day weekend, earning $12.6 million in the six days from its Wednesday release to Labor Day. It adds just a few more screens, but nothing that should make a big impact. It should hold fairly well, though, maybe off about 30% from its three-day figure.

The weak openers and the drop of The Transporter 2 should keep Steve Carell's The 40-Year-Old Virgin in the second spot for the second straight week. Don't look now, but it's already over $70 million in just three weeks and will be aiming for $100 million after just a couple more weekends if it can continue the 25% declines.

The rest of the top ten is filled with August hangers-on and those damn penguins. Keep an eye on The Wedding Crashers as it continues to creep towards $200 million. It might just miss this weekend, but it'll finish the job over the next seven days for sure.

Forecast: Weekend of September 9-11, 2005
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2,981 New 11.8
2 The 40-Year-Old Virgin 2,975 +74 9.9
3 The Transporter 2 3,320 +17 7.4
4 The Man 2,040 New 6.9
5 The Constant Gardner 1,381 +35 6.0
6 Red Eye 3,076 -58 4.8
7 The Brothers Grimm 2,750 -348 3.6
8 Wedding Crashers 2,181 -235 3.3
9 Four Brothers 2,093 -342 3.1
10 March of the Penguins 2,403 -103 3.0



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