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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Ramona and Beezus, Salt

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Two new films hit theaters this weekend and the pair make me feel like the summer is almost over. One is aimed firmly at a family audience while the other is going for more of the action/Bourne franchise type of fan. They are both hot on the heels of last week’s pair of Inception and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which had a similar demographic spread. However, there is a big difference as last week had a legitimate blockbuster while this week doesn’t have the same sort of feel. Will either these have the muscle to climb to the top of the pile? I am not sure. I am only really interested in one of the releases this week and I believe that one is the only one with a real shot. We will know in a few days.

Ramona and Beezus. (2010, 104 minutes, G, family comedy) When I first saw this title I had no idea what it was. Then it dawned on me, it is based on the Ramona character from the series of Beverly Cleary books. Of course, this does not really help me as I never read any of her books. I know, what was I thinking? Anyway, I know little about the film as it is being advertised on shows that I do not watch. The basics of the story, as I have gleaned from a few none too helpful sources, is that the film follows the misadventures of Ramona Quimby, younger sister to Beezus who must try to keep up with her. The title roles are filled by Joey King and Selena Gomez, respectively, and they are joined by familiar faces including Ginnifer Goodwinn, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Josh Duhamel, and Sandra Oh. Elizabeth Allen (Aquamarine) directs.

Salt. (2010, 99 minutes, PG-13, action/thriller) I am hoping this is fun. At the same time I am not expecting it to be particularly good. There is something about the trailers that make it seem supremely superficial. Perhaps I will be proven wrong though and that would be nice. The movie centers on Angelina Jolie as the titular Salt. She is an FBI agent fingered as a Russian sleeper spy. She bolts as her superiors believe she will attempt to assassinate the President while she tries to prove her innocence. It looks like they are going for a Bourne-style feel and I wonder how close they will get. The cast also includes Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Phillip Noyce (Catch a Fire, Clear and Present Danger) directs from a Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium, Law Abiding Citizen) screenplay.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Countdown to Zero
  • Life During Wartime
  • Mugabe and the White African
  • Spoken Word

Box Office Predictions 
I have a feeling that Inception is going to hold on to the top for a second weekend. There has been too much good word about it this week, along with the fact that is very rewatchable. I think that Salt is the only new release that even has a shot at the top spot and that is going to be a stretch. I am not convinced it is going to have a big open. It will do well I am sure, but $30 million may be pushing it. Meanwhile, Ramona and Beezus is going to be much further down the list. 

Here is how I think it could play out:

Rank Title Box Office
1 Inception $36 million
2 Salt $26 million
3 Despicable Me $20 million
4 Ramona and Beezus $9.5million
5 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice $8.5 million
6 Toy Story 3 $7 million
7 Eclipse $6 million
8 Grown Ups $4.5 million
9 The Last Airbender $3.5 million
10 Predators $3 million
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