Weekend Predictions: 01-30-09

This will most likely be a poor weekend for movies. If you hadn’t heard, “The Big Game” is this Sunday. “The Big Game” is the Super Bowl, but since the NFL protects it’s intellectual properties like no other, you’ll hear “The Big Game” a whole lot more than Super Bowl. They tried to trademark “The Big Game” too, but that was going too far. Since the Super Bowl effectively makes Sunday the day the Earth stands still, probably going to cut into box office returns.

Check out the prediction calculations here.

The biggest new release of the weekend is Taken. The difference between this and the Luc Besson-Jason Statham actioners is that Liam Neeson is a fairly respected actor and gives the movie a little more significance. Besson has been quite prolific in the B-grade action genre since he retired from directing. It’s a pity he quit directing, but at least he’s still actively working- writing and producing. This will be the second biggest release for a movie Besson has been involved with and will be the first time Neeson has headlined a straight action movie since, well I’d say it’s the first time. He’s not the kind of guy you’d think of for an action movie, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fares. I came up with $26,469,817 to start, but that’s way too high. First I subtracted half the difference between that number and Besson’s per screen average times the theater count. Then I gave it a 1/3 Super Bowl penalty to come up with a final prediction of $13,580,758.

The second biggest movie is The Uninvited. The movie stars a bunch of chicks and David Strathairn. The most widely known chick is probably Elizabeth Banks. The last time she starred in a horror movie was Slither, and that thing couldn’t even scare up $2,000 per theater on it’s opening weekend. Despite the recent success of some of these PG-13, so-called “horror” movies, the lack of a big name and the presence of “The Big Game” will probably keep this movie from making much. After penalties and all, I came up with $7,313,291 for the weekend. Good luck.

The last new wide release this weekend is New in Town. Since Me, Myself and Irene in 2000, the biggest opening weekend for a non-animated movie starring Renee Zellweger was Cinderella Man at $18,320,205. For some reason I had it in my head that she was some big star and Bridget Jones was hugely popular. Not so. Not even the power of her, George Clooney, and John Krasinski’s wiseassery could push Leatherheads over $12,682,595. And Harry Connick Jr.? I think he only gets the roles every leading man has turned down twice. I ended up with a prediction of $7,350,015 for this meh-fest.

Because of all this weak competition, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is picking up a few movie theaters, just for the hell of it. Everyone seems to love this movie so much, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s number one again. Milk and The Reader are expanding wider, if you feel you just have to see all the Best Picture nominees.

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