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Weekend Forecast for December 8-10, 2006

by Reagen Sulewski

December 8, 2006

Why are you laughing and humming the theme song from The Nanny?

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Relentlessly violent, it's a look at a culture that few are familiar with, which will attract some viewers out of sheer curiosity and novelty. Mel Gibson's name still means something to people as a director, even with his controversy earlier this year (or perhaps, cynically, because of it). In fact, it's about the only thing this film has in terms of mass appeal. This is no Passion of the Christ-like phenomenon in the making, however, with no particular Christian message to get out. No, it's more of a rip-roaring actioner in the vein of Braveheart, with a warrior attempt to escape his fate as a chosen ritual sacrifice.

Critical reception is mixed, with some calling it one of the best films of the year, or at least the best action film. Still others have bashed it as exploitative and ugly. Released on a surprising 2,400 screens, there's enough curiosity here to push this to about a $10 million opening weekend.

Finally, there's Unaccompanied Minors, aimed at the preteen crowd. It's essentially Home Alone in an Airport Times Five, with five kids marooned at a Chicago airport during a snowstorm, who then proceed to wreak havoc. Among the kid actors the biggest name, or at least the most recognizable face, is Tyler James Williams, who plays little Chris Rock on Everybody Hates Chris. It actually has a whole slew of familiar adult names, including Lewis Black, Rob Corddry, Wilmer Valderamma and B.J. Novak (from The Office), probably in the hopes of appealing to adults, but they're most likely to just drop the kids off and head to Casino Royale.




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Unaccompanied Minors sits somewhere in the middle between Catch That Kid and Snow Day in terms of preteen flicks – it has no Nickelodeon support, but doesn't look completely dire. On a pretty wide release of about 2,800 screens, it should open to about $8 million.

After spending three weeks on the top of the box office, Happy Feet is likely to relinquish top spot, barring a complete failure of the incoming films. It's racked up an impressive $125 million so far, making it the third highest grossing animated film of the year so far. It's unlikely to challenge Ice Age 2, though with Christmas coming anything is possible. Give it another $12 million this weekend.

Casino Royale has done a very good job of matching Happy Feet step for step at the box office, with $120 million in its coffers. Audiences have definitely taken to the new James Bond, with the effective reboot of the franchise doing what it was meant to. Watch for this tactic to be implemented for many more languishing projects in the coming years. For this weekend, look for another $10 million for Casino Royale.


Forecast: Weekend of December 8-10, 2006
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Holiday 2,610 New 16.2
2 Blood Diamond 1,905 New 13.4
3 Happy Feet 3,650 -154 11.8
4 Casino Royale 3,161 -225 10.4
5 Apocalypto 2,465 New 10.2
6 Unaccompanied Minors 2,775 New 7.8
7 Deja Vu 2,742 -366 7.2
8 Deck the Halls 2,766 -439 4.1
9 The Santa Clause 3 2,226 -391 3.3
10 Borat 1,594 -643 2.9

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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