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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Speed Racer, What Happens in Vegas, Redbelt

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Last weekend saw the summer season get off to a hot start with the potent offering of Iron Man. Besides doing well at the box office, the movie is actually really good. So, if you have not seen it, make sure you do. As for this week's top release, it has an uphill battle if it wants to overtake the comic book hero. It has a pedigree steeped in animation with a dose of cult favorite, while its live-action counterpart has a strong dose of oddness in the promotion. Anyway, it's another week and another chance to see something on the big screen. Make sure you make the most of every opportunity.

Speed Racer. (2008, 135 minutes, PG, sci-fi/action, trailer) This movie looks weird. I cannot think of any other way to describe it. I am aware of the cartoon, although I am not terribly familiar with it. This live action version stars Emile Hirsch as the title character, with Susan Sarandon and John Goodman as his parents, and Matthew Fox as Racer X. Speed only wants to race, but when he turns down a big money deal he uncovers something much bigger that he needs to stop. This also marks the first film directed by the Wachowski Brothers since The Matrix Revolutions in 2003.

What Happens in Vegas. (2008, 99 minutes, PG-13, romantic comedy, trailer) Tell me, honestly, how bad does this movie look? It looks really, really bad. The sad thing is that I have a feeling that I will be front and center taking the bullet. The problems started with the first trailer, especially the part when Ashton Kutcher reveals the toilet seat. Just who is he showing it to? It is obvious it is for the camera, but it breaks the fourth wall in a bad way. Anyway, the story centers on Kutcher and Cameron Diaz, a couple who get married in a drunken night of partying, but before they can divorce they win $3 million from a slot machine. Now they are battling over who gets the money. Ugh.

Redbelt. (2008, 99 minutes, R, drama, trailer) I have not seen that many of David Mamet's films, but they tend to be very well written. Hopefully Redbelt will be no different. This film takes us inside the world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), movie making, and tough decisions. On the surface, I would say it looks like a mature version of Never Back Down from earlier this year. The movie opened last week and is expanding into wider release this weekend.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Noise

Box Office Predictions

Yes, this week's premiere release is Speed Racer, and it will definitely do well, but it is also going to be a harder sell than Iron Man was last weekend. This will translate to Speed Racer coming in second to Iron Man, which will handily retain the top spot this weekend. The middle of the order will be a battle of comedies with the next five films, with David Mamet's Redbelt anchoring the latter portions.

Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:

Rank Title Box Office
1 Iron Man $54 million
2 Speed Racer $39 million
3 What Happens in Vegas $17 million
4 Made of Honor $8 million
5 Baby Mama $6 million
6 Forgetting Sarah Marshall $4.5 million
7 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay $3 million
8 The Forbidden Kingdom $2.5 million
9 Redbelt $2 million
10 Nim's Island $1.5 million
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