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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Evan Almighty, 1408, A Mighty Heart

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This week brings films targeting vastly different markets, with probably little crossover appeal. First up, there is a family friendly comedy which is sure to rule the box office for the weekend, and have the widest appeal. Coming up after that is a horror/thriller which looks halfway decent, but still could go either way. Finally, we have a real life tale translated to film concerning one of the more tragic events of the ongoing war in the Middle East. Seems like a relatively quiet weekend as we build up to the next wave of big summer movies with Live Free or Die Hard, Transformers, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix set to come out in pretty rapid succession.

1408. (2007, 94 minutes, PG-13, horror thriller, trailer) Stephen King tales turned big screen releases are always an iffy proposition. It seems like more often than not they crash and burn, but occasionally one sticks out — will this be one of them? The trailers look promising, and having John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in your cast doesn't hurt a bit. The story centers on an author (Cusack) who's made a career out of debunking paranormal events. He checks into a haunted hotel ready to write his next novel, but will he finally become a believer? I am actually looking forward to seeing this. Mikael Hafstrom (Derailed) directs a screenplay from Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski.

Evan Almighty. (2007, 90 minutes, PG, comedy, trailer) Steve Carell stars in this most expensive comedy ever made, carrying a budget north of $175 million. There have been reported arguments between director and studio over marketing, while the budget spiraled up. Honestly, I don't care, I just want to see the movie. It looks like it could be fun, but I doubt it will live up to Bruce Almighty. Still, Carell seems like the right guy to take up the mantle. This time out, God (Morgan Freeman) comes to Carell and requests that he build an ark, so he goes off on a Noah-like quest. Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams) directs a script from Bob Oedenkerk (Barnyard, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist).

A Mighty Heart. (2007, 108 minutes, R, drama, trailer) This is the story of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, from the memoirs of his wife, Mariane. It details his reasons for being in Pakistan through his abduction, and his wife's efforts to find him before his eventual murder. I have a feeling this is going to be a tough film to watch, considering the emotions it will likely stir up; still I belive it will be very compelling. Of course, final judgement of its merits as a film, story aside, are still up for debate until I get to see the movie. Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl. Michael Winterbottom (Code 46) directs John Orloff's screenplay.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Black Sheep
  • Broken English
  • Sicko
  • You Kill Me

Box Office Predictions

Rise of the Silver Surfer opened pretty good last week, and to better reviews than its predecessor did, but will it sustain it this week? No, it won't. It will do well, but this week will belong to Steve Carell and Evan Almighty. The most expensive comedy of all time will set out to make it all back, fail, and then get it back on strong DVD rentals. Well, that is how I see it going down. 1408 should open well, Cusack is a good actor, and the trailers look pretty good; besides, it has Sam Jackson himself in it. The rest is up in the air, but I have my ideas…

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

Rank Title Box Office
1 Evan Almighty $52 million
2 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer $35 million
3 1408 $21 million
4 Knocked Up $9 million
5 Ocean's Thirteen $8.5 million
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End $6.5 million
7 A Mighty Heart $6 million
8 Surf's Up $4.5 million
9 Shrek the Third $4 million
10 Nancy Drew $2.5 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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