The Weekend Warrior (Lite): January 28 – 30


Greetings and welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly guide to the weekend’s new movies. Tune in every Tuesday for the latest look at the upcoming weekend, and then check back on Thursday night for final projections based on actual theatre counts.

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Due to our commitments at covering this year’s Sundance Film Festival, we won’’t have time to do a full Weekend Warrior this week, but we’ve thrown together a few predictions for those who would prefer those rather than nothing.

Predictions and Comparisons

1. The Rite (New Line/WB) – $18.2 million N/A
2. No Strings Attached (Paramount) – $11.0 million -44%
3. The Green Hornet (Sony) – $9.7 million -45%
4. The Mechanic (CBS Films) – $9.5 million N/A
5. The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.) – $7.3 million -10%
6. True Grit (Paramount) – $5.3 million -28%
7. The Dilemma (Universal) – $4.8 million -40%
8. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) – $4.0 million -32%
9. The Fighter (Paramount) – $3.3 million -21%
10. Little Fockers (Universal) – $2.5 million -42%

Weekend Overview

The month of January shuts down with another slow weekend where nothing is likely to make more than $20 million, and the movie with the best chance of winning the weekend is the supernatural thriller The Rite (New Line/WB) starring Anthony Hopkins. It’s hard to tell how big a draw Hopkins is for the movie, because his biggest movies are the ones in which he played Dr. Hannibal Lecter, though recent forays into genre with The Wolfman and Beowulf have kept him prominent in the eyes of younger moviegoers and the subject matter has enough appeal among older audiences that Hopkins’ involvement will be a plus. With only one other new movie, we can see this taking the top spot while making a play for $20 million.

Popular action star Jason Statham will be trying to steal away some of the young male audience starring in the remake of Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic (CBS Films) with Ben Foster. The film has a great action-thriller premise and an R rating, which should make Statham’s fans happy, especially following his recent appearance in Sly Stallone’s hit The Expendables. One does have to wonder if Statham may have lost some heat with the big gap of time between Crank 2: High Voltage, which ended a streak of $30 million grossers. CBS Films doesn’t have a very good track record at the box office, though this seems like a stronger action-based premise that will appeal to an audience who only has one other movie geared towards them (Seth Rogen’s The Green Hornet). It still will likely end up just under $10 million just because it will lose other audiences to The Rite, and it’s likely to get hit the hardest by the Super Bowl next week as well.

Also expect the Weinstein Company to expand Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech this weekend with all of the Oscar nominations it received on Tuesday.

This weekend last year, James Cameron’s Avatar remained on top with $31.3 million as it got closer to $600 million, while two new movies opened with the Mel Gibson political thriller Edge of Darkness (Warner Bros.) taking second place with $17.2 million and the Kristen Bell rom-com When in Rome (Touchstone) taking third with $12.3 million. The Top 10 grossed $104 million but if you remove that money brought in by Avatar, you end up roughly where this weekend should end up.

Next week, the month of February kicks off with two thrillers, The Roommate (Sony/Screen Gems) and Sanctum (Rogue Pictures/Universal), and fingers crossed we’ll be back to our normal column length as well.

Copyright 2011 Edward Douglas