Weekend Predictions: 01-16-09

It’s January and the studios are still cleansing their bowels of the movies that can’t hang with the big boys. If you don’t believe me, I offer implicit proof in the form of Hotel for Dogs being the widest release this weekend.

I’d like enter this spreadsheet into evidence as exhibit A.

Hotel for Dogs is being unleashed in 3,271 theaters this weekend. It’s a movie about a couple of kids that turn a dilapidated hotel into a refuge for stray dogs. I wish someone would have put a muzzle on the guy that pitched this idea. Dog jokes used up. The movie stars a couple kids who’ve appeared in a couple kid movies and is directed by a guy who’s few movies weren’t released theatrically in the US. The muscle for this movie comes from the backing of Paramount and DreamWorks. If there weren’t big names behind it, this movie wouldn’t have bleeped on the dog movie radar. As it is, the movie will probably end up number one this weekend. I calculated a total of $23,844,302, which should do it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing about too many horror movies, but I keep reading the title as Hostel for Dogs. The idea of dogs being tortured and killed disturbs me a whole lot more than the idea of people being tortured and killed. I’ve never passed on a movie because it’s too violent, but I’d skip Hostel for Dogs.

The second widest release is Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Kevin James’ agentĀ  is somehow able to continuously convince people that his client is loved by the movie going public. It’s quite a feat since all James has going for him is his girth and ability to occasionally whine like a chagrined 12-year old girl. Even though the guy has only three credited movie acting roles to his name, that’s still a helluva job by his agent. Judging by the unfunny trailers and infantile premise, I can’t see this movie doing much other than making people regret buying a ticket. I calculated a $26 million weekend, but that number sounds stupider than the premise, so I cut it in half to $13,028,182. Believe it or not, this is the first of two mall security guard movies this year. The second is Observe and Report, releasing in April. How two disparate people could have arrived at this idea is beyond me.

For the first time in the history of forever, I calculated a third movie for the weekend. My Bloody Valentine 3-D is making it’s way into 2,534 theaters, 1,000 of which are equipped with 3-D projection. Most people will only be seeing the movie in 2-D, so the whole 3-D thing comes off as a bit of a gimmick. But I guess it’s always a gimmick and does little more than make flinchy people flinch, so, whatever. Horror movies have been doing pretty well lately and the 3-D trickery should give this one a boost. Because there are several inexperienced people in the movie, my calculation originally came out to $7 million- way too low for a horror movie without any stiff competition. I tripled it to a more reasonable $22,128,130.

The fourth widest new release is Notorious, the Christopher Wallace/The Notorious B.I.G./Biggie Smalls biopic. The fact that an actor-centric biopic about a fairly prominent musician is being dumped in January without much publicity doesn’t bode well for this movie. If the acting was good, it would’ve been released in December (at least a limited release) to qualify for the major awards. If someone felt the movie was good enough to make a lot of money in January by being different/better than everything else, it would have been promoted more heavily. This one gives the impression, as do most January movies, of being a stinker.

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