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Weekend Forecast for January 5-7, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

January 5, 2007

Wedding receptions can be so by the book.

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Cedric has been a solid supporting performer in several films in the past, but as a lead, has been at the scene of the crime for some of the worst dogs inflicted on us in recent memory, like The Honeymooners and Johnson Family Vacation. Code Name: The Cleaner looks worse than these, even. It debuts on only 1,700 screens this weekend, likely with the hopes that it just won't embarrass anyone. Give it about $5 million and a quick exit from theatres.

Expanding into wide release is Children of Men, jumping from only 16 screens to over 1,200. Set in a future world where every woman has been rendered infertile, Children of Men is a post-apocalyptic thriller that has been garnering tremendous praise as one of the best films of the year. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine, its dystopic setting sees humanity falling apart, with no hope for the future. No hope, that is, until a miraculously pregnant woman shows up who must be ferried to safety so that she can, just maybe, save the world.




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Equal parts chase film, cautionary tale and political activism, Children of Men has become a darling with critics, especially for Cuaron's directing. In its limited release, it attracted huge audiences, grossing half a million dollars on just 16 screens. In this wide release, I give it a very good chance at making a box office impact, with around $10 million, helping it with a last minute Oscar push.

In returning films, Night at the Museum should repeat for its third week at the top of the box office. The family action-comedy was the top film for December and has already brought in an astounding $136 million at the box office. Dick van Dyke's still got it. I kid, I kid, it's Ben Stiller, combined with a fairly ingenious premise and a perfect release slot that's brought it this far. Its box office topping total this weekend should be around $22 million.

Other holdovers should be strong as well this week. Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happyness held over very strongly during the Christmas week, boosting its box office total over the $100 million mark. The inspirational story improved well over the New Year's Eve weekend, upping its total by 30%, and should stick around with about $14 million this frame. Dreamgirls packed in audiences in just over 800 screens starting on Christmas Day, and has earned close to $50 million to date. Though it's not expanding this weekend, its buzz has been very strong, and I look for it to keep third place with about $10 million.

Charlotte's Web was a strong family choice during the Christmas week but should drop off sharply now that kids are back in school. This demo is always hardest hit in this period, and I don't see the case for an exception here. Give it about $6 million this frame, though it should move close to the $70 million mark. The Good Shepherd and Rocky Balboa could in no way be considered kids' flicks, but they should share that same fate. Neither held up strongly over Christmas in comparison to the field, seeing only a slight rise and a slight drop respectively, when other films saw big gains. Look for both to come in at about the $5 million mark.


Forecast: Weekend of January 5-7, 2007
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 A Night At the Museum 3,730 -38 22.5
2 The Pursuit of Happyness 3,027 +157 14.4
3 Dreamgirls 852 0 10.4
4 Children of Men 1,210 +1,194 10.2
5 Charlotte's Web 3,303 -442 6.4
6 Happily N'ever After 2,381 New 6.1
7 The Good Shepherd 2,250 +32 5.7
8 Freedom Writers 1,360 New 5.7
9 Codee Name: The Cleaner 1,736 New 5.3
10 Rocky Balboa 3,018 -1 5.0

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