Weekend Predictions: 01-23-09

rise-of-the-lycansNot a great weekend for new movies, this. Only two new movies will appear in more than 81 theaters, and then less than 3,000. But if you like those movies that were nominated for Academy Awards, several are expanding to wider releases. Now’s the time for them to capitalize on all that award buzz.

Check out all my detailed calculations here.

The biggest new release is the much anticipated Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, in 2,942 theaters. The first Underworld was a pretty decent movie, but the second one started getting a little too concerned with the mythology, but heck, it did outgross the first one. Even though the third installment goes to new, nerdlier, non-Kate Beckinsale depths in the Underworld mythology, I think it’s going to continue the upward trend in box office returns. And the fact that this is a horror movie at a time when horror movies have been doing really well can’t hurt. I calculated $27,139,887, a pretty solid number.

The other new wide release is Inkheart, based on the German children’s book. It’s another one of those epic (500+ page) fantasy books that for some reason kids actually like to read. I remember back when kids didn’t like to read and just played their video games all day. I’d swear people still say that, but when children’s books are frequently hitting bestseller lists, it seems like kids might be getting more literate. But now all those books are being adapted into movies, and will give kids a whole new reason to sit around and stare at the TV. Oh well, at least someone’s making money off it. And I think someone will make about $17,303,557 this weekend.

Fresh off their Academy Award nominations, Frost/Nixon, Revoluntionary Road, The Dark Knight, Rachael Getting Married, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Wrestler are all expanding. It was all calculated ahead of time that these movies would get nominated, so they needed to get into a bunch more theaters to get some of that Oscar money ASAP. How many of these movies only reach the public conscious because of their Academy Award nominations? Take a movie like 2001′s In the Bedroom. It was first released on November 23rd. In the two months leading up to it’s nominations, it made $11,794,069. It made the same amount over the next four weeks, on it’s way to a total of $35,930,604. If it hadn’t been nominated for Best Picture, would it really have made that much? Whatever the reason, if you want to see these Oscar nominees, now’s your chance.

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