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Weekend Forecast for March 16-18, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

March 16, 2007

If this were the movie Crash, racism would be about to push Sandy down the stairs.

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Last weekend's record-setting performance leaves a big standard to live up to that won't be reached. In fact, this week's three openers are unlikely to match 300's opening weekend from last frame.

Premonition leads the way among them. In it, Sandra Bullock plays a housewife who sees her husband (played by Julian McMahon) die in a fiery auto crash, only to wake up beside him the next morning. As she realizes that this is a vision of the future, her next step is to try and prevent it from happening in the first place.

This is Bullock's second straight film that plays with temporality after The Lake House although this one aims a bit more at the thriller angle than Lake House's romantic bent. Even though Bullock has been down of late as a draw, she's still a respectable and remarkably consistent box office pull in the low teens. I think this one throws a bit under her recent fare, and doesn't seem to have that zing that some of her recent films have had, and the lack of a true romantic angle hurts as well. Reviews have been brutal, but even at that, it should come in with about $12 million for the weekend as the week's top new film.

Chris Rock returns to the director's chair for I Think I Love My Wife, this weekend's actual romantic effort. A remake of the 1972 French film Love in the Afternoon, it sees Rock as a domesticated married man who finds himself tested and tempted by a friend's old lover. Considering his wife in the film is played by Gina Torres, he's potentially risking his life by cheating on her, but I digress.

Fans of his standup career can definitely see his influence in this film, with a several bits recycled from his act. That's both a blessing and a curse, as it's really nothing new for those fans. It appears that Rock is trying to emulate the middle career of Steve Martin, a la the Parenthood/Father of the Bride era. He doesn't have quite the pull to be able to match that, but this might be a first step. Unfortunately, this one also appears to be a bit of a dog, though Rock's fame might bring people in for one weekend. Launching at just under 1,800 venues, it should see about $10 million on the weekend.

Lastly we have Dead Silence, which doubles as both the horror entry of the weekend as well as the "are they kidding us?" film of the weekend. From the director of Saw, Dead Silence is your typical "cursed town" story, although this one features as its scare... ventriloquism dummies. So they got that goin' for them.




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OK, so you might be saying to yourself, "but I'm terrified of clowns and dolls and inanimate things that look like humans! And what about Chucky?" And I say, pull yourselves together! Besides, the Child's Play movies sucked, except for the Ronnie Yu ones (and even then). Honestly, this looks like one of the more embarrassing horror movies to come down the pike in quite some time, and if it weren't for the Saw connection, would likely be a STDVD release. Then again, any old horror flick seems to make money these days. Seeing a fairly tiny release at about 1,800 venues, Dead Silence should come in with about $6 million.

These feeble releases are no match for the second weekend of 300, even if I don't expect legs for it. The adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book was a runaway smash success, opening to $70 million, a March record. Filled with stylized battles, gore and violence, it was in some ways a very surprising hit, with no recognizable stars, but it capitalized on its unique style. The audience for this film pretty much defines fanboy, and while that occasionally can lead to legs (see: Spider-Man), I don't see that happening here. There's very little crossover potential beyond the early adopters for the film. Look for a substantial dropoff this weekend to about $38 million.

Wild Hogs surprised many by staying strong in its second weekend with $27 million. It's since moved over $80 million total, and should pass the $100 million milestone in this its third weekend. The lowbrow comedy has done very well in capturing the middle-aged market, and should see another $16 million this weekend.

No other returning films will earn over $5 million this weekend, though Bridge to Terabitha remains a strong family film performer and Ghost Rider is to date still 2007's top earner (not for long, though). Last weekend's single massive opener has left us with a rather top-heavy slate of films at the box office for the next little while.


Forecast: Weekend of March 16-18. 2007
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 300 3,270 +167 38.3
2 Wild Hogs 3,360 +64 16.6
3 Premonition 2,831 New 12.4
4 I Think I Love My Wife 1,776 New 9.9
5 Dead Silence 1,803 New 6.3
6 Bridge to Terabitha 3,091 -119 4.4
7 Zodiac 2,362 -17 3.8
8 Ghost Rider 2,824 -523 3.3
9 Norbit 2,016 -489 2.7
10 The Number 23 2,201 -288 2.2

     


 
 

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