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Weekend Forecast for November 17-19, 2006

By Reagen Sulewski

November 17, 2006

I think he's overcompensating.

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Limited release sees a few notable films this weekend, starting with Fast Food Nation. Richard Linklater's second film this year is an adaptation of the non-fiction expose of the fast food industry. Rather than adapting it straight, Linklater has turned the book into a overlapping narrative story, covering multiple aspects of the industry in the wake of an e.coli breakout in a fast food chain.

Starring Greg Kinnear, Ethan Hawke, Avril Lavigne, Wilmer Valderrama and Patricia Arquette, it is the latest in the line of activist films, though relatively unique in its fictionalized construction. Opening on about 350 screens this weekend, it should be able to bring in a few million this weekend, and will be hoping for a groundswell similar to that of Super Size Me.

For Your Consideration is the latest improvised film by Christopher Guest and his stable of comedians. In it, three actors for a low-budget film, Home For Purim, discover that they're receiving Oscar buzz. FYC then delves into the chaos that results as egos start to inflate. I can't wait for the trade advertisements for this one come December. Guest's films have started to hit the wall with this concept; the startlingly funny Waiting For Guffman has given way to the dire and dreary A Mighty Wind. Still, there are enough people willing to give him a shot that this could do decently if it picks up support. Look for around half a million this weekend.




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Finally, we have Bobby, a film about the assassination of RFK in 1968. Directed by Emilio Estevez, the film wanders around the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, through an ensemble cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Lindsay Lohan, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Helen Hunt... well, it just keeps going. The growing turbulence of Vietnam looms large through the film, and draws parallels to events today (one guess what it is), as well as what's seen as a loss of the last great hope for that generation of leaders. The film debuted at the Toronto film fest to less than enthusiastic reviews, but won an award at Venice. It's debuting on just two screens in the hope of a better reception and word-of-mouth buzz.

After winning the box office two weeks in a row, Borat faces the first big test of its run. Ticking up slightly last weekend after a major expansion, it will undoubtedly start to see a drop in this frame. It's still a massive smash by any measure, now over the $75 million mark. Though it loses the top spot, it should still bring in close to $17 million more this weekend.

Borat's leggy performance seemed to inspire other films as well, with both The Santa Clause 3 and Flushed Away showing some old-time holdover power, dropping under 15% each in their second weekends. They both face a big challenge from Happy Feet and seem unlikely to repeat that, but neither is Happy Feet a Harry Potter-like monolith that will destroy all that come near it. Give them both around $12 million this weekend.

Stranger Than Fiction went a long way towards making Will Ferrell respectable in "straight" roles, coming in just shy of $13 million. It's the non-explosion, non-culture baiting adult choice this weekend, but we'll see if the strong word-of-mouth it's received will be able to carry it. Give it around $9 million for weekend number two.


Forecast: Weekend of November 17-19, 2006
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Happy Feet 3,804 New 44.7
2 Casino Royale 3,434 new 38.9
3 Borat 2,611 +45 17.2
4 The Santa Clause 3 3,359 -99 12.1
5 Flushed Away 3,307 -400 11.5
6 Stranger Than Fiction 2,279 +6 9.5
7 Let's Go To Prison 1,495 New 5.0
8 Babel 1,251 0 3.8
9 The Departed 1,611 -599 3.3
10 Saw III 1,941 -1,071 3.0

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