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Here Comes the Bride (Wars)

January 8th, 2009

2009 hopes to build on last week's success and has three new releases and a wide expansion with which to do so. Bride Wars seems to be the odds on favorite to win, but don't count out Gran Torino. Also, both films have a shot at topping last year's number one film, The Bucket List.

For a lot of men, January means NFL playoffs, so this is a good time of year to release a "chick flick." Last year around this time 27 Dresses opened with mixed reviews but still managed $23 million during its opening weekend. Now Bride Wars is hoping to repeat that performance. This film is earning much weaker reviews, but it does have more star power, which should compensate at least over the opening weekend. Look for just over $21 million over the weekend, and $65 million in total, which is a little more than original predictions.

Gran Torino has earned more than $10 million in limited release, and this week it expands into more than 2,800 theaters. A lot of analysts expect the film to pull in $14 million to $16 million, but I'm a little more bullish than most. Its reviews are clearly better than any other wide release this week, but what is most impressive is its per theater average. Over the past two weeks, the film's average has grown from $24,643 to $34,957, despite seeing its theater count climb from 19 to 84. This shows amazing growth potential, and at best the film could earn first place and close to $28 million. That's a little too bullish, even for me. However, it could pull in just under $20 million, which would put it within striking distance of first place.

After two weeks on top, Marley & Me will relinquish command of the box office charts. The film has made about $112 million so far, and it should add just over $12 million to that total over the next three days. If it has not earned a profit already, it will shortly.

The next wide release of the week is The Unborn, the first of three or four horror films to come out this month. Being the first should help it at the box office, as there is no competition at the moment. However, with a Tomatometer score that is barely in double digits, the film will likely struggle somewhat. Look for a 4th place opening with $12 million over the weekend, which is in line with original expectations.

Bedtime Stories should earn just under $12 million over the weekend, and reach $100 million in total. This is substantially lower than originally predicted; however, the movie is making more than expected internationally, and it will have little trouble showing a profit during its initial push into the home market.

The final wide release of the week is Not Easily Broken, but with an opening theater count of just 724, it can hardly be called a truly wide release. Also, its reviews are rather weak. The lack of direct competition for its target audience might be the best thing going for it. Even so, it will struggle to reach the top ten and earn just over $3 million over the weekend and just under $10 million in total. It could surprise, but this seems like the most likely scenario.


Filed under: Gran Torino, Marley & Me, Bride Wars, The Unborn, Not Easily Broken