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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Knocked Up, Mr. Brooks, Gracie

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May is over, and three of the summer's expected big hits are already out there. It is now time for a bit of a lull while we wait for the next high profile title to suck up screens at the local multiplex. So, while we may not be getting a new gigantic release this week, that does not mean we will not have anything new to watch.

This weekend brings two new wide releases, both of which are R-rated and targeting the adult audience, if slightly different demographics. One is a raunchy comedy in the vein of 40 Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers, and the other is a thriller reminiscent of A History of Violence. Both seem to offer up intriguing premises and could prove to be box office hits. Time will tell how they stack up to the blockbusters already on the screens.

Knocked Up. (2007, 132 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) If there is one comedy that I have been looking forward to this summer, this is it. I have no idea if it will be good, but I like all those involved, and the trailer just struck me as very funny and seems to have hit written all over it. It is written and directed by Judd Apatow, the mind behind the hilarious 40 Year Old Virgin and the shortlived series Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared, and stars Grey's Anatomy's Katherine Heigl as well as Virgin co-star Seth Rogen. The story is about a one-night stand between an unlikely pair that results in a pregnancy that leads to a run at a real relationship. It looks like it will have that mix of raunchy comedy and genuine heart that is box office gold, at least for me.

Mr. Brooks. (2007, 120 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) As hit or miss as Kevin Costner's films can be, this one looks to be rather intriguing in its Jekyll and Hyde setup. Costner stars as Earl Brooks, a family man and top businessman, who happens to enjoy killing. He has a split personality, to the point where the other personality is played by a different person (William Hurt). Brooks decides to quit, but gets sloppy on the last kill and is seen by a reporter played by Dane Cook. Meanwhile, he is also pursued by a police detective played by Demi Moore. It is directed and co-written by Bruce A. Evans, who last directed Kuffs in 1992, and last wrote the Tim Allen flick Jungle 2 Jungle. I cannot say that is a great pedigree, but the concept is definitely interesting.

Gracie. (2007, 128 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) The plot reminds me of the Amanda Bynes comedy She's the Man. I know I shouldn't even know that, but still… Anyway, it is about a 15-year-old girl who's the only daughter among three sons in a soccer-obsessed family. Tragedy strikes and the oldest is killed in an accident, Gracie petitions to join the boys varsity soccer team in his place. I've seen the trailer and cannot say that it looks all that intriguing, or all that different from any number of inspirational sports-themed dramas. The story is inspired by true events in the life of Elisabeth Shue. It is directed by Davis Guggenheim, who also helmed last year's Oscar winner An Inconvenient Truth, as well as a whole string of television episodes.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Crazy Love
  • Day Watch
  • I'm Reed Fish
  • Pierrepoint – The Last Hangman
  • Rise: Blood Hunter
  • The Trials of Daryl Hunt

Box Office Predictions

Last week, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest owned the box office, overtaking the previous winner Shrek the Third, and the faltering Spider-Man 3 to take the top spot. Will it be able to repeat? I have no doubt that it will. The question is whether or not Shrek will be able to fend off the advances of newcomers Knocked Up and Mr. Brooks. I suspect that the ogre will be able to hold off Seth Rogen for the number two slot. Although, I believe that the raunchy comedy with heart will have a strong showing and will have a strong third place start. As for the other big movie, Mr. Brooks, it has a couple of stars in need of a hit, and a somewhat popular stand-up comedian trying his hand at a non-comedy pretty early in his big screen career, I think it will open decent if unspectacular. Spider-Man 3 will likely round out the top five, the rest will be a crapshoot.

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

Rank Title Box Office
1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End $55 million
2 Shrek the Third $33 million
3 Knocked Up $25 million
4 Mr. Brooks $15 million
5 Spider-Man 3 $8 million
6 Waitress $2.5 million
7 28 Weeks Later $2 million
8 Bug $2 million
9 Gracie $1.5 million
10 Disturbia $1 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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