Weekend Preview (9.18.09)

We’re already into weekend No. 3 of the fall season and that means some of the movies that have been hyped up are all summer are finally going to find their way to theaters, most notably the Megan Fox horror comedy Jennifer’s Body.

As it also happens we’re in Week 2 of my weekend previews and box office predictions. Last week, I nailed it with my prediction of Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself taking the No. 1 spot.

But it wasn’t that prediction so much as it was predicting that the three horror films Final Destination, Sorority Row and Whiteout would fight each other and divide the audience. I was dead on. All three films made somewhere between the tiny window of $4.5 – 5.5 million, allowing the still chugging Inglourious Basterds to scootch back up to third place behind 9, which I was thrilled to see take No. 2 with $10 million in fewer than 2,000 theaters, though it can expect a huge drop this weekend.

The choices are much better than last week. Three of the four of these movies appear to be worth the money at first glance, depending on what you’re looking for.

Jennifer’s Body – Cloudy with a Chance of Meat Balls – Love Happens – The Informant!

My endorsement: The only one of these movies to make my fall preview top 10 was The Informant!, which looks like the surest bet in terms of quality. Early festival reviews have been positive for both director Steven Soderbergh’s return to comedy and Matt Damon’s performance. The TV spots have really picked up this week and this is the only sure film to attract the older audience as well as adults with taste without kids (or a babysitter). The film has a quirky thriller vibe that makes me feel like it could be this year’s Burn After Reading.

Red Flag: It made my Fall Red Flags list on pure hunch alone, but it also helps that it pales compared to the other films out this weekend. Love Happens doesn’t just look as corny as it sounds, but there hasn’t been much critical acclaim for either Aaron Eckhart or Jennifer Anniston in terms of romantic comedies lately and I’m betting that will hold true when the reviews come out. The TV spots are weak and the promotion overall doesn’t seem very enthused about the product. I promise you The Informant! will work just fine as a date movie.

B.O. Prediction: This week’s choice is pretty clear-cut as well. It’s been awhile since a kids film has been released and kids have been cooped up in school for a few weeks now, so the time is right for children’s book adaptation Cloudy with a Chance of Meat Balls to win out, especially being released in nearly 1,000 more theaters than the competition. The movie looks super family-friendly, the book gives it recognition and food falling from the sky is pretty creative and fun.

As for Jennifer’s Body and The Informant!,  both are R-rated films competing on even distribution numbers but with vastly different audiences. Yet it’s clear the hype and star-power of Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and Adam Brody will suck in a huge number of teenagers who’ve heard plenty of hype and seen many an internet photo of Fox these last few weeks. Theater managers will have their hands full kicking underage kids out from this one, but a Megan Fox horror comedy is going to get most 17 – 21 year olds to the movies, especially without having had much to see the last couple weeks.

As for carryover, I expect I Can Do Bad … will hold up as Perry’s films usually do, taking third or fourth place with The Informant!. Too close to call, though I’d hope the latter could win out. To round out the top five, I’m going to make a gutsy call and pick Inglourious Basterds in its fifth week to beat out Love Happens by the slimmest of margins. A lot of people have taken friend recommendations and gone to see Basterds despite initial hesitance, and the two movies are going to be in the same number of theaters.

I’ll be out of town all next week, so no predictions then, although if the reviews are positive, Meat Balls is my early favorite to repeat with  little serious competition coming out next week and nothing for families for certain.


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