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New Movie Releases and Box Office Predictions: Pulse, Step Up, Zoom

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This week brings with it a few potential August sleepers. Four films with four separate audiences, horror, teen drama, family comedy, and serious drama. None of them are predicted to be blockbusters; that time of the year has passed. Still, there is always a film worth checking out.

World Trade Center. (2006, 125 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) Oliver Stone’s latest opened on Wednesday to the tune of $4.4 million, placing second to Talladega Nights. The film is said to be a life-affirming positive look at the tragedy of 9/11 through the eyes of two of only 20 survivors. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, and Maggie Gyllenhall.

Pulse. (2006, 90 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) The latest remake of a Japanese horror film is brought by director Jim Sonzero, his first feature effort. The movie tells the story of a force from beyond the grave that returns to haunt the living through electronic devices. People get messages through email and other modern communication forms. It stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) as a psychology student whose boyfriend is one of the first victims.

Step Up. (2006, 98 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) The latest teen-oriented drama to hit the big screens centers on a dancing school, where an outsider is attracts the attention of one of the school’s top ballerinas. It looks so dreadfully generic, the idea is cliché, and the leads don’t seem all that appealing. I am pretty sure I will skip this one.

Zoom. (2006, 83 minutes, PG, comedy, trailer) Following in the footsteps of last year's enjoyable Sky High comes this Tim Allen vehicle. The movie looks to take advantage of the superhero genre by targeting a younger audience. Allen stars as a character looking to put together a team of next-generation heros. It looks entertainingly harmless, but a bit too similar to Sky High.

Strangers with Candy. (2006, 97 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) This big screen comedy is the latest to be based on a television show. This acts as a prequel to the series that ran for a few years on Comedy Central. Jeri Blank, played by Amy Sedaris, is a 47-year-old former drug-abuser seeking to restart her life, beginning by going back to high school. I never watched the series, as it never appealed to me; not sure the feature does either. This begins its second theater run; it never played first run in my area.

Little Miss Sunshine. (2006, 101 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) Thise road comedy looks very funny. It centers on a seven-year-old girl with a dream of becoming Little Miss Sunshine. She comes from a family that is not wealthy, but must find a way to get to California for the competition. The cast includes Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear, and Steve Carrell. It looks to have a good heart, and be hilarious at the same time.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • The Aura
  • Half Nelson
  • House of Sand
  • Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
  • Piccadilly Cowboy
  • Poster Boy
  • The Trouble with Men and Women
  • Waltzing Anna

Box Office Predictions

Four new films enter the race this weekend, but I don't think any of them will pose a threat to Ricky Bobby, who I think will remain atop the charts. The rest is a crapshoot; here are my ideas:

Rank Title Box Office
1 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby $25 million
2 Pulse $17 million
3 Step Up $16 million
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $14.5 million
5 World Trade Center $ 11 million
6 Zoom $6 million
7 Barnyard: The Original Party Animals $5.5 million
8 Miami Vice $4.5 million
9 The Descent $3 million
10 Monster House $2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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