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Weekend Forecast

By David Mumpower

February 15, 2007

Is there anything more satisfying than watching Nicolas Cage's face melt?

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BOP frequently teases about the quality of his movies (coming clean: I have had both Madea titles in my bottom ten the past two year). What we do not, however, deny is the massive appeal of Perry within the African-American community. BOP has discovered first hand how passionate Perry's fans are toward his work. Before we had any real understanding of who he was, our feedback inbox was inundated with questions about his two projects. Our simple acknowledgement of his work created a firestorm of site traffic from a group who felt Perry's work was not accurately supported on the Internet. When his movies were released, those fans spoke with their wallets and purses, forcing Hollywood to stand up and take note of a previously ignored movie-going demographic. His career ascension represents one of the best industry stories of the decade to date, exemplifying the fact that consumers drive the product.

Perry's latest work, Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, stars one of my favorite actresses, Gabrielle Union (Two Can Play That Game), as a successful woman struggling to come to terms with the chaos created by her falling in love with a divorced mechanic with three kids. When the ex-wife comes back into the picture and tries to take away the kids, Union's character must re-evaluate her life to determine what is important to her. I am not going to lie and say that I expect to like this movie, but I am certain it will do well this weekend. $28 million over four days is my expectation, proving once more that Perry is a significant box office draw.

The third opener of the weekend, Music & Lyrics, capitalized on Valentine's Day by debuting in theaters yesterday. The Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy finished in second place with $4.2 million, falling just short of Daddy's Little Girls' $4.6 million. Throwing Ghost Rider on top of those two accurately reflects the weekend should play out. Grant appears perfectly cast as a washed up pop star who discovers that his neighbor is not just hot but also gifted when it comes to catchy lyrics. Grant has made a cottage industry out of playing easily lovable, socially awkward Brits in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, among others. Barrymore has found similar success with 50 First Dates, The Wedding Singer and Ever After. The combination of the two guarantees opening weekend success as well as long legs for Music & Lyrics. An opening holiday weekend of $22 million appears reasonable.




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In danger of getting lost in the shuffle is Bridge to Terabithia, the theatrical adaptation of the Katherine Paterson Newbery Award-winning 1977 classic. A sort of thematic predecessor to Pan's Labyrinth as well as 1991's Macaulay Culkin tearjerker, My Girl, the story involves a young boy who loses a "boys only" foot race to an exceptional girl. Over time, they grow to be friends and share with one another their varying forms of artistic creativity. He loves to draw while she creates fantastic tales of imaginary adventure. Bridge to Terabithia is a project the staff at BOP had circled as a potential sleeper since its inception. Unfortunately, the film enters the marketplace in a situation where it could be devoured by the stiff competition involved. A $15 million performance over four days would be a solid accomplishment although the optimist in me is hoping for more.

The sacrificial lamb of the holiday weekend is (to my mind) the most intriguing new release, Breach. The Universal Pictures production is a semi-biographical re-telling of the events that led accomplished FBI agent Robert Hanssen to be convicted of treason. The man sold documents to the Soviet Union over a 15 year period before Hanssen's underling, Eric O'Neill, managed to bring him to justice. The project strikes me as a sleek political thriller with a lot of intellectual appeal. Unfortunately, stars Ryan Phillippe and Chris Cooper might be great actors (Phillippe will surprise you) but they are the polar opposite of box office draws. Thrown to the wolves on a weekend with four strong productions, Breach will be lucky to earn $7 million over four days. Universal has my money, though.


Forecast: Weekend of February 16-19, 2007 (President's Day Weekend)
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Ghost Rider 3,619 New 42.1
2 Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls 2,111 New 28.2
3 Norbit 3,138 +2 22.6
4 Music & Lyrics 2,929 New 21.8
5 Bridge to Terabithia 3,139 New 15.4
6 Hannibal Rising 3,003 No change 9.1
7 Breach 1,487 New 7.2
8 Night at the Museum 2,042 -660 6.8
9 Because I Said So 2,446 -83 5.8
10 The Messengers 2,183 -346 4.6

Continued:       1       2

     


 
 

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