Sunday, January 11, 2009

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Get Off Clint's Lawn

Well I’m off to a smashing start for 2009. I figured it would be no problem whatsoever for Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson to march themselves down the aisle and all the way to the top of the box office. Not only did they have to settle for second place but they almost got beat by a horror movie about an unborn twin that needs his live twin to die in order to be born. Right.

The fate of BRIDE WARS was sealed on Friday when the Cline Eastwood star vehicle/directorial effort, GRAN TORINO, took out its big shotgun and blew away all the competition. After a stellar limited run over the last month, GRAN TORINO went wide and proved that Eastwood is still a bankable star. Meanwhile, the young ladies only proved that they both still have a lot to prove. Hathaway’s awards attention in the next few weeks will inevitably throw her into the limelight, giving the film some much needed legs, but at the end of the day, BRIDE WARS will be a medium sized performer when Fox was clearly hoping for a wedding to end all weddings.

Final figures are announced tomorrow and BRIDE WARS might find itself slipping into third place if its figures do not hold up. Right now there is half a million dollars separating it from THE UNBORN. The horror flick played on nearly 1000 less screens but managed a much sturdier per screen average, allowing it to come within reach of second place, much to everyone’s surprise. The true test for THE UNBORN will come next week when it tries to hold its audience. Given that there is a new horror movie coming out every week this month, I think THE UNBORN better enjoy this weekend because it will be descending back to hell come next weekend. The Top 10’s other debut belonged to limited player, NOT EASILY BROKEN. Playing on just over 700 screens, the film has the third highest average in the Top 10.

The specialty market was pretty quiet this week. January is just a time to expand really. All the big art pics came out before the end of the year to qualify for the Academy Awards but certain pictures saved their big reveals for the new year to avoid the holiday overcrowding. GRAN TORINO did it aggressively and succeeded but most art flicks practice the art of taking their sweet time. The biggest expansions were both Kate Winslet pictures and one succeeded while the other disappointed. Both THE READER and REVOLUTIONARY ROAD are nominated for Best Motion Picture (drama) at this evening’s Golden Globes and both tacked on about 100 screens to their run this weekend. While REVOLUTIONARY ROAD pulled in a slightly larger per screen average than GRAN TORINO for an increase of 46%, THE READER saw its returns slip 15%. Winslet herself is nominated for both films this evening so a win either way will certainly help.

NEXT WEEK: It’s a busy one indeed. Both LAST CHANCE HARVEY and DEFIANCE expand their runs wide to join HOTEL FOR DOGS, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, NOTORIOUS and PAUL BLART: MALL COP in the race for the top spot. Better watch out for Clint though; he’s packing some serious heat.

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