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Weekend Forecast for November 22-26, 2006

By Reagen Sulewski

November 22, 2006

I love you because you're the only man my size in Hollywood.

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The annual five-day movie frenzy that is the Thanksgiving Weekend is about to hit, with four new movies launching on Wednesday and a couple of key expansions.

Over the last couple of years, Thanksgiving weekend has seen the big movies move to the week prior to it to get a "bonus" box office weekend, and this year is no different, with two $40 million openers in the weekend before. Unlike last year, there's a film that could challenge them for the top spot, namely Deja Vu.

The latest high-concept action film from Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott, Deja Vu posits that the eponymous feeling is actually a power than can be harnessed, sending you back in time four days. When a ferry explodes in New Orleans, a detective (played by Denzel Washington) discovers that it might not be too late to save the people on it, even though they've already been killed.

It's a brilliant conceit, of the kind that makes you think, "Now why didn't I come up with that one?" and perfectly tailored for Tony Scott's hyperactive cinematic style (as well as serving as a bit of an in-joke about the relative sameness of Scott's films). It also leaves room for plenty of explosions and car crashes. It's also had one of the most attention-getting (if obvious) ad campaigns of the year, playing up the film's repetitive concept.

Denzel Washington has seen an incredibly strong run of box office openings in the past six years, culminating in this year's Inside Man debuting to $28 million, the highest in his career. And although Tony Scott had the recent flop of Domino, Deja Vu brings to mind his run of hits with hyped-up techno-thrillers like Enemy of the State and Crimson Tide. This should easily be the biggest new film of the weekend, earning about $26 million over three days and $33 over the five-day Holiday period.

With no milquetoast Steve Martin family "comedy" this fall, Deck The Halls fills that gap by finally giving us the battle royale that we've always wanted - apparently, Matthew Broderick versus Danny DeVito. A slapsticky effort, the two star as competing suburban residents who find themselves in competition for the ironic (think about it) title of "King of Christmas". This is settled by who has the largest, gaudiest, noisiest Christmas display at their house, because that's what Christmas is all about.

This kind of paean to crass consumerism has worked before, most notably with 1996's Jingle All the Way, that timeless pairing of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. This has gotten about as terrible reviews as it's possible to get, though as the major new family entry of the weekend, it's bound to serve as a compromise choice, with its PG rating and vague similarities to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Watch for about $10 million over three days, with $14 million over the five-day period.




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One of the oddest looking films of the year, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny brings Jack Black and Kyle Gass's creation for MTV to the big screen. A sort of mix of Spinal Tap and Bill & Ted, this film purports to tell the origin of Tenacious D, the Greatest Band on Earth, and their devotion to rocking your socks off.

Black plays JB, who has one singular dream - to rock out as the greatest lead singer of all time. After leaving home for Hollywood, he discovers KG (Gass), a troubadour, and forms their band, named Tenacious D, with the only thing stopping them from success being their complete lack of talent. They discover that the secret to rock success is actually carried in a magical guitar pick, which they must journey to find.

Followers of the D will know what to expect from their show and album, which could at times be blisteringly funny, though the transition from what were basically sketches to a 90 minute movie could prove troublesome. Think of it as an SNL movie based on characters you probably haven't heard of. That the trailer looks nearly incomprehensible to neophytes doesn't help. A lot of this film's popularity will be carried on the weight of Black's newfound stardom, though a release on just 1,900 screens doesn't bode well. I'm expecting a Friday-to-Sunday total of just $6 million, with $8 million total from Wednesday on.


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