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Weekend Forecast for January 26-28, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

January 26, 2007

How many times did you get to say c**ksucker on Deadwood?

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Catch and Release is our first romantic comedy of the year, starring Jennifer Garner and Tim Olyphant. Garner plays a woman whose fiancé has died, leaving behind some surprises, including a mysterious bank account and a child by another woman that she never knew about. As she deals with the death and this new information, she also finds herself falling for her fiance's boor of a best friend, played by Olyphant.

The movie was written and directed by Susannah Grant, who among other films, was responsible for Erin Brockovich and 28 Days, so her chick-flick credits are well earned. The cast also includes Kevin Smith, in one of his few roles outside his own projects, and Juliette Lewis. It's a harmless-looking enough movie and a possible return to form for Garner, who's still recovering from the disastrous Elektra and a year off to have a child. Launching on about 1,600 screens, its potential is somewhat limited, though a weekend total of about $7 million is still probable.

Finally, we have Blood and Chocolate, this week's awkwardly titled horror film. From the producers of the modern vampire chronicles Underworld, Blood and Chocolate tackles the werewolf mythos, with 24's Agnes Bruckner as a teen werewolf torn between her family's secrets and her love, representing her chance for a normal life.

Blood and Chocolate employs the same blue-tinted color scheme that just screams gothic horror these days (see also: The Covenant). It's definitely trying to invite comparisons to Underworld, with its $20 million plus opening weekends, but it lacks that series' stylish action and brilliant trailer. MGM has also not shown much confidence in the project, releasing it in just 1,200 theaters. It stands a chance with teen audiences because of its romance angle, but I think this is a case where a film's title definitely stands in the way of success. I see a weekend total of just $4 million in the cards.

Stomp the Yard managed to take advantage of a weak competing slate of films to capture top spot at the box office for the second straight week. Possibly the worst movie ever to win two straight box office weeks, its total box office now sits around $40 million. It should fall to around $6 million this weekend, losing ground to several of the new films and Night at the Museum, which passed $200 million last weekend, making it the fifth highest grossing movie released in 2006. It fell just short of recapturing the top spot for a fourth weekend, though it stands little chance against this weekend's releases. Give it $8 million over the next three days.




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This brings us to the Oscar nominees. Dreamgirls is running strongest of them, and was the overall leader in nominations with eight. Crucially, it did not receive a Best Picture nomination, and three of those were in the Best Song category. At over 2,700 theaters this weekend, it can now be considered in full wide release, though it's already brought in close to $80 million. It should see a slight boost from the expansion and nominations, but without the Best Picture possibility, it will be muted. Give it $8 million on the weekend.

Other nomination-laden films that are expanding include Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen, Notes on a Scandal, Babel, Volver, Letters From Iwo Jima and Venus. The Departed also re-releases on over 1,000 screens this weekend. Of those films, Pan's Labyrinth was the strongest last weekend, earning $4.5 million. The heavily stylized, Spanish language fantasy film seems like it would be a tough sell, but this is a pretty strong result so far. Give it another $5 million this weekend. The Queen, with six nominations, and Babel, with seven, also stand to gain this weekend. Look for weekends of $4 million of each of them.


Forecast: Weekend of January 26-28, 2007
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Epic Movie 2,801 New 19.4
2 Smokin' Aces 2,204 New 11.9
3 Dreamgirls 2,785 +571 8.7
4 Night at the Museum 3,241 -242 8.1
5 Catch and Release 1,622 New 6.8
6 Stomp the Yard 2,115 +64 6.3
7 Pan's Labyrinth 823 +214 4.9
8 The Pursuit of Happyness 2,688 -378 4.4
9 The Queen 1,830 +244 4.2
10 Babel 1,090 +201 3.9

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