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New Movies & Box Office Predictions: 17 Again, Crank – High Voltage, State of Play

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The third weekend in April seems to be a bit weaker than then the second, but I guess that is to allow the burn to smolder until the beginning of May when the studios trot out a string of high profile releases. This weekend offers a decent selection of titles, just none that immediately appear to be a runaway hit. Still, I am looking forward to heading out to see some new offerings.

17 Again. (2009, 102 minutes, PG-13, comedy) Here comes a test. This is Zac Efron's first real test as a movie star. This release comes after Efron's emergence as a force in the High School Musical series and his entertaining turn in the Hairspray adaptation in 2007.  It is his first shot at being the star rather than part of an ensemble. The film tells the familiar story of a man getting a chance to do it all over again. A wish to be 17 again finds Matthew Perry transformed into a 17-year-old played by Zac Efron, who then vows to do things the right way. It looks innocent enough and should draw pretty well this weekend. Leslie Mann co-stars. This is director Burr Steers first feature since 2002's Igby Goes Down.

Crank: High Voltage. (2009, 85 minutes, R, action). This is sure to be an absolute trip, a cartoon brought to vivid, violent life. If you thought Jason Statham's Chev Chelios died, as stated, in the first film, you would be wrong. The tag line says it all: "He was dead…But he got better." What else do you need? He has been kept alive via an artificial heart that he must keep charged to keep it pumping as he runs across the city in search of his real heart. I am sure this is completely unreal, but if it holds together with its own logic I am cool with that.

State of Play. (2009, 118 minutes, PG-13, thriller) While the subject matter seems awfully familiar, the cast assembled looks strong enough to make it involving and, dare I say, thrilling? Russell Crowe is an investigative reporter in DC, looking into a series of brutal murders while former college roommate Ben Affleck, a rising political star, is overseeing a committee on defense spending. Things heat up when Affleck's assistant turns up murdered and Crowe keeps investigating as dark secrets come to light. The cast also includes Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren. Robin Wright Penn, Jeff Daniels, and Jason Bateman. Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) is at the helm.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • American Violet
  • Every Little Step
  • The Golden Boys
  • Gooby
  • Is Anybody There?
  • Lemon Tree
  • Sleep Dealer

Box Office Predictions

Last weekend was led by the debuting Hannah Montana: The Movie, will it have the strength to lead a second weekend? I think not. However, that begs the question of what movie is going to step up to the plate. I suspect it will the teen-targeted movie featuring a certain Disney heartthrob. I also believe that the new Crank will not make much of an impact.

Here is how I think it could play out.

Rank Title Box Office
1 17 Again $23 million
2 State of Play $18 million
3 Hannah Montana: The Movie $15 million
4 Fast & Furious $14 million
5 Monsters vs. Aliens $13 million
6 Crank: High Voltage $9 million
7 Observe and Report $5.5 million
8 Knowing $3.25 million
9 I Love You, Man $3 million
10 The Haunting in Connecticut $2 million
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