Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

(Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

All Mark Wahlberg Movies Ranked

During the early ’90s, while he was flashing his abs and modeling underwear as Marky Mark, few could have suspected that beneath Mark Wahlberg’s b-boy cap lurked the soul of a thespian. Now, that’s no longer the case — with dozens of roles and a pair of Academy Award nominations to his credit, Wahlberg has compiled an impressive filmography since making his big-screen debut in Danny DeVito’s 1994 comedy Renaissance Man. Since then, he’s branched out quite a bit, showing a flair for drama (Boogie Nights), comedy (Ted), and blockbuster action (Shooter, the Transformers franchise) along the way. It’s never a bad time to look back on Mr. Wahlberg’s career — and with that in mind, we’ve rounded up all of his major roles, sorting the bunch by Tomatometer. Where do your favorites rank? Read on to find out.

#43

Max Payne (2008)
15%

#43
Adjusted Score: 20401%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts some stylish action, Max Payne suffers severely from an illogical plot and overdirection.
Synopsis: After the murders of his family and his partner, maverick cop Max (Mark Wahlberg) becomes hell-bent on revenge. Teamed with... [More]
Directed By: John Moore

#42
Adjusted Score: 34574%
Critics Consensus: Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you'd expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.
Synopsis: Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#41

Renaissance Man (1994)
12%

#41
Adjusted Score: 12862%
Critics Consensus: Renaissance Man tries to simultaneously be a literary comedy, an inspirational drama, and a star vehicle that caters to Danny DeVito's strengths, but proves to be a master of none.
Synopsis: After getting canned from his advertising job, down-and-out divorcé Bill Rago (Danny DeVito) gets a gig teaching English at a... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#40

The Happening (2008)
17%

#40
Adjusted Score: 24714%
Critics Consensus: The Happening begins with promise, but unfortunately descends into an incoherent and unconvincing trifle.
Synopsis: An apocalyptic threat to humanity arrives out of the clear blue sky with a series of violent, inexplicable deaths spreading... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#39
Adjusted Score: 26321%
Critics Consensus: With the fourth installment in Michael Bay's blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.
Synopsis: After an epic battle, a great city lies in ruins, but the Earth itself is saved. As humanity begins to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#38

Mile 22 (2018)
23%

#38
Adjusted Score: 33545%
Critics Consensus: Mile 22 lets the bullets fly -- and not much else -- in a thrill-deficient action thriller whose title proves sadly fitting for a film that feels close to a marathon endurance test.
Synopsis: CIA operative James Silva leads a small but lethal paramilitary team on an urgent and dangerous mission. They must transport... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#37

Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
21%

#37
Adjusted Score: 29447%
Critics Consensus: A formulaic comedy that's unlikely to spread much yuletide merriment, Daddy's Home 2 can only muster a few stray yuks from its talented cast.
Synopsis: Father and stepfather Dusty and Brad join forces to make Christmastime perfect for the children. Their newfound partnership soon gets... [More]
Directed By: Sean Anders

#36

Broken City (2013)
28%

#36
Adjusted Score: 34101%
Critics Consensus: Broken City's thinly sketched, formulaic script offers meager rewards for all but the least demanding noir aficionados.
Synopsis: Former cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) sees a chance at redemption for past sins when New York City's Mayor Nicolas... [More]
Directed By: Allen Hughes

#35

Mojave (2015)
32%

#35
Adjusted Score: 34987%
Critics Consensus: Mojave has no shortage of talent on either side of the camera; unfortunately, it amounts to little more than a frustrating missed opportunity.
Synopsis: A down-and-out artist (Garrett Hedlund) has a dangerous and shocking encounter with an evil drifter (Oscar Isaac) in the desert,... [More]
Directed By: William Monahan

#34

Daddy's Home (2015)
30%

#34
Adjusted Score: 34717%
Critics Consensus: Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg have proven comedic chemistry, but Daddy's Home suffers from a dearth of genuinely funny ideas - and lacks enough guts or imagination to explore the satirical possibilities of its premise.
Synopsis: Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) is a kindhearted radio executive who wants to be the best possible stepfather to his wife's... [More]
Directed By: Sean Anders

#33

The Lovely Bones (2009)
31%

#33
Adjusted Score: 41674%
Critics Consensus: It's stuffed full of Peter Jackson's typically dazzling imagery, but The Lovely Bones suffers from abrupt shifts between horrific violence and cloying sentimentality.
Synopsis: After being brutally murdered, 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) watches from heaven over her grief-stricken family (Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz)... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 37309%
Critics Consensus: Newton has star quality, but this exercise in style can't hold a candle to the original.
Synopsis: Regina (Thandie Newton) meets charming Joshua (Mark Wahlberg) while vacationing in Martinique, as she contemplates ending her whirlwind marriage to... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#31

Fear (1996)
45%

#31
Adjusted Score: 45696%
Critics Consensus: Fear has an appealing young cast, but their efforts aren't enough to consistently distract from an increasingly overblown - and illogical - teen stalker story.
Synopsis: When 16-year-old Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) meets 23-year-old David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) at a Seattle nightclub, she falls in love.... [More]
Directed By: James Foley

#30

The Big Hit (1998)
43%

#30
Adjusted Score: 43438%
Critics Consensus: The Big Hit seeks to blend the best of Hong Kong and American action cinema, but ends up offering a muddled mush that mostly misses.
Synopsis: Affable hit man Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg) is constantly being scammed by his cutthroat colleagues in the life-ending business. So,... [More]
Directed By: Che-Kirk Wong

#29

The Gambler (2014)
43%

#29
Adjusted Score: 48631%
Critics Consensus: Well-paced and reasonably entertaining in its own right, The Gambler still suffers from comparisons to the James Caan classic that inspired it.
Synopsis: Literature professor Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) leads a secret life as a high-stakes gambler. Always a risk-taker, Bennett bets it... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Wyatt

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 49303%
Critics Consensus: This remake of Planet of the Apes can't compare to the original in some critics' mind, but the striking visuals and B-movie charms may win you over.
Synopsis: Director Tim Burton ("Batman") reinvents one of the most acclaimed and beloved works of science fiction, Pierre Boulle's classic novel... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 46976%
Critics Consensus: In spite of its young leading man's heroic efforts to hold it all together, a muddled message prevents The Basketball Diaries from compelling as a cautionary tale.
Synopsis: Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) is consumed by his life as a high school basketball star. Pressured by a wicked coach... [More]
Directed By: Scott Kalvert

#26

Ted 2 (2015)
44%

#26
Adjusted Score: 52604%
Critics Consensus: Ted 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane for another round of sophomoric, scatological humor -- and just as before, your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for all of the above.
Synopsis: Life has changed drastically for thunder buddies John (Mark Wahlberg), now a bachelor, and best pal Ted (Seth MacFarlane), now... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 50785%
Critics Consensus: While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers from any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye-candy and nothing else.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#24

Shooter (2007)
48%

#24
Adjusted Score: 53513%
Critics Consensus: With an implausible story and numerous plot holes, Shooter fails to distinguish itself from other mindless action-thrillers.
Synopsis: A top Marine sniper, Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), leaves the military after a mission goes horribly awry and disappears... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#23

The Corruptor (1999)
48%

#23
Adjusted Score: 48406%
Critics Consensus: This uninspiring cop thriller doesn't measure up to Chow Yun-Fat's Hong Kong work.
Synopsis: Martial arts expert Detective Nick Chen (Chow Yun-Fat) teams up with his colleague Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg) to keep several... [More]
Directed By: James Foley

#22

Pain & Gain (2013)
50%

#22
Adjusted Score: 58464%
Critics Consensus: It may be his most thought-provoking film to date, but Michael Bay's Pain & Gain ultimately loses its satirical edge in a stylized flurry of violent spectacle.
Synopsis: Danny Lupo (Mark Wahlberg), manager of the Sun Gym in 1990s Miami, decides that there is only one way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#21

Contraband (2012)
51%

#21
Adjusted Score: 57063%
Critics Consensus: It's more entertaining than your average January action thriller, but that isn't enough to excuse Contraband's lack of originality and unnecessarily convoluted plot.
Synopsis: Ex-smuggler Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) gave up his criminal ways long ago. But, he's forced back into the game after... [More]
Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

#20

Rock Star (2001)
53%

#20
Adjusted Score: 56926%
Critics Consensus: Like its title, Rock Star is rather generic, being not so much about the heavy metal scene than about rock cliches and formula.
Synopsis: A comedy set in the world of '80s rock 'n' roll, "Rock Star" is the story of an office supplies... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#19

Four Brothers (2005)
52%

#19
Adjusted Score: 56428%
Critics Consensus: Despite striking a believable rapport among its principal actors, Four Brothers overwhelms with ultra-violent, vigilante-glorifying action and devolves into too many fractured, insubstantial thematic directions.
Synopsis: When an inner-city Detroit foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is murdered in a botched holdup, four of her now-grown adopted children... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#18

We Own the Night (2007)
57%

#18
Adjusted Score: 63708%
Critics Consensus: Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.
Synopsis: In 1988, New York's police wage an all-out war on drugs, and guilty and innocent alike become casualties. Bobby Green... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 70823%
Critics Consensus: I Heart Huckabees certainly isn't for everyone, but audiences attuned to its quirky wavelength will find a singularly brainy screwball comedy that refuses to pander.
Synopsis: Environmentalist Albert (Jason Schwartzman) enlists the services of "existential detectives" Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and Vivian (Lily Tomlin) to solve the... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#16

The Yards (2000)
64%

#16
Adjusted Score: 67200%
Critics Consensus: Featuring strong performances and direction, The Yards is a richly textured crime thriller with an authentic feel.
Synopsis: After serving time in prison for taking the fall for a group of his friends, Leo just wants to get... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#15

2 Guns (2013)
65%

#15
Adjusted Score: 71772%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and often jarringly violent, 2 Guns rests its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars.
Synopsis: For the past year, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and U.S. Navy intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) have... [More]
Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

#14

Date Night (2010)
66%

#14
Adjusted Score: 75451%
Critics Consensus: An uneasy blend of action and comedy, Date Night doesn't quite live up to the talents of its two leads, but Steve Carell and Tina Fey still manage to shine through most of the movie's flaws.
Synopsis: Dragged down by the daily grind, suburbanites Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire (Tina Fey) try to invigorate their marriage by... [More]
Directed By: Shawn Levy

#13

Ted (2012)
68%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77849%
Critics Consensus: Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script.
Synopsis: When John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy, he made a wish that Ted (Seth MacFarlane), his beloved teddy... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#12

Invincible (2006)
72%

#12
Adjusted Score: 77690%
Critics Consensus: As simple and authentic as the gritty South Philly invirons in which it's set in, Invincible sends a uplifting and heartfelt message packed with an athletic enthusiasm that shouldn't be missed.
Synopsis: Lifelong football fan Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) sees his wildest dreams come true when he becomes a member of the... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#11

The Italian Job (2003)
72%

#11
Adjusted Score: 78609%
Critics Consensus: Despite some iffy plot elements, The Italian Job succeeds in delivering an entertaining modern take on the original 1969 heist film, thanks to a charismatic cast.
Synopsis: After a heist in Venice, Steve (Edward Norton) turns on his partners in crime, killing safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland)... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#10

Lone Survivor (2013)
75%

#10
Adjusted Score: 83895%
Critics Consensus: A true account of military courage and survival, Lone Survivor wields enough visceral power to mitigate its heavy-handed jingoism.
Synopsis: In 2005 Afghanistan, Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matthew "Axe"... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#9
Adjusted Score: 97890%
Critics Consensus: All the Money in the World offers an absorbing portrayal of a true story, brought compellingly to life by a powerful performance from Christopher Plummer.
Synopsis: In 1973, kidnappers demand $17 million from billionaire J. Paul Getty in exchange for his grandson's release. Getty refuses to... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#8

The Other Guys (2010)
78%

#8
Adjusted Score: 86372%
Critics Consensus: A clever parody of cop-buddy action-comedies, The Other Guys delivers several impressive action set pieces and lots of big laughs, thanks to the assured comic chemistry between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: Unlike their heroic counterparts on the force, desk-bound NYPD detectives Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) garner no headlines... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#7

Traveller (1997)
79%

#7
Adjusted Score: 78972%
Critics Consensus: Though it may not explore its core issues as deeply as some may like, Traveller is nevertheless a smart and funny portrait of a relatively unfamiliar subculture with some strong performances.
Synopsis: A con man (Bill Paxton) teaches a novice (Mark Wahlberg) the rules for membership in an Irish-American grifters gang.... [More]
Directed By: Jack N. Green

#6

Patriots Day (2016)
80%

#6
Adjusted Score: 98206%
Critics Consensus: Patriots Day offers a stirring, solidly crafted tribute to the heroes of a real-life American tragedy without straying into exploitative action thriller territory.
Synopsis: Tragedy strikes on April 15, 2013, when two bombs explode during the Boston Marathon. In the aftermath of the attack,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 99236%
Critics Consensus: Deepwater Horizon makes effective use of its titular man-made disaster to deliver an uncommonly serious -- yet still suitably gripping -- action thriller.
Synopsis: On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, igniting a massive fireball that... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#4

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100393%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#3

The Departed (2006)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102869%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#2

Boogie Nights (1997)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 97144%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#1

Three Kings (1999)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98465%
Critics Consensus: Three Kings successfully blends elements of action, drama, and comedy into a thoughtful, exciting movie on the Gulf War.
Synopsis: Just after the end of the Gulf War, four American soldiers decide to steal a cache of Saddam Hussein's hidden... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

A half-dozen new soldiers enter the marketplace this weekend trying to topple the kingdom of "300" which has reigned supreme at the box office for the past two weeks.

Mark Wahlberg toplines the sniper thriller "Shooter," animated ninja turtles fight crime in "TMNT," and mutated zombies attack in "The Hills Have Eyes 2." In addition, moviegoers will get to choose from the kids adventure "The Last Mimzy," the sports saga "Pride," and the Adam Sandler drama "Reign Over Me." Holdovers should witness some large declines as these new pics all fight over the time and attention of ticket buyers. The box office may not have room for all to survive.

Seventeen years after shocking the film industry with a record March opening, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back but in animated form in "TMNT." The Warner Bros. toon features the voices of Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ziyi Zhang and carries a PG rating that is friendly for kids. Given the violence, "TMNT" should skew more to boys and might even pull in those who grew up with the characters in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With all the R-rated films recently, there have not been too many choices for kids this spring. "The Last Mimzy" is the only new release that will provide direct competition for that audience. Bringing its turtle power to 3,110 theaters, "TMNT" may generate a bow of roughly $16M this weekend.


They’re back.

Hot off his recent Oscar nomination, Mark Wahlberg hits the big screen in the action thriller "Shooter" playing a former Marine sniper trying to clear his name after being wrongly accused of trying to assassinate the U.S. President. The R-rated film comes from "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua and co-stars Danny Glover and Michael Peña. The film is banking on the starpower of Wahlberg who has been able to anchor hits in recent years. Late summer pics like last year’s "Invincible" and 2005’s "Four Brothers" opened to $17M and $21.2M, respectively, and brought in solid sales overall. "Shooter" is targeting the adult action crowd with appeal that will reach both men and women. Certainly "300" will play to much of the same audience and be a factor. Though no Damon or Cruise, Wahlberg has indeed become a believable action hero and is in a role that audiences will buy him in. Plus his Academy nod for "The Departed" has only increased audience respect for the former rapper. Opening in 2,600 theaters, "Shooter" might take in about $16M for the weekend.


Mark Wahlberg, playing a guy named Swagger, in a movie called "Shooter."

Last March, Fox Searchlight hit gold with the horror remake "The Hills Have Eyes" which bowed to $15.7M and grossed $41.8M overall. A year later, the sequel is born this time coming out through Fox Atomic, the studio’s new division geared towards young adult audiences with genre fare. "Eyes 2" once again is targeting the horror crowd with slick marketing hoping to lure in those seeking R-rated gore and violence. Plus the distributor is premiering the trailer to the upcoming fright sequel "28 Weeks Later" with the new "Hills" installment to help give moviegoers more for their money. Much of the audience for the first pic will probably return, although the sequel will face more competition as "300" and "Shooter" will both be drawing in young men. Attacking 2,500 theaters, "The Hills Have Eyes 2" could open to around $13M this weekend.


"The Hills Have Eyes, Too."

New Line studio chief Bob Shaye steps back into the director’s chair with the family adventure "The Last Mimzy" based on a popular short story. The "E.T."-like film about a boy and a girl who find a mysterious animal with mystical powers hopes to attract an audience of kids and parents, but will have to face some stiff competition from its studio’s former heroes, the Ninja Turtles. That toon should take away more boys than girls so "Mimzy" may end up skewing a bit more female. New Line hopes that much of the crowd that spent $75M and counting on "Bridge to Terabithia" will take a spin with this new effects-filled fantasy so sneak previews were held to help raise awareness and get buzz spreading. Still, a competitive environment will probably cut into its potential. Landing in over 3,000 sites, "The Last Mimzy" might gross about $12M this weekend.


"The Last Mimzy."

Targeting the African American audience this weekend is Lionsgate with its swim team drama "Pride" starring Terrence Howard. The PG-rated film will try to appeal to males with the sports saga and females with its human drama and half-nude muscular men. But Howard has not yet proven that he can open a picture on his own and "Pride" may not be the one to increase his future salary demands. "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter" both opened north of $20M and much of that was due to starpower. Plus Chris Rock found out last week that African Americans will not just show up for any film with a predominantly black cast. Diving into 1,518 theaters, "Pride" could swim to a weekend gross of about $7M.


Terrence Howard in "Pride."

Adam Sandler goes back to serious territory with the R-rated drama "Reign Over Me" playing a man whose life fell apart after his wife and kids were killed on 9/11. It’s no surprise Sony is releasing the film given all the cash the comedian has made for the studio over the years. Don Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith co-star. Given the subject matter, the rating, and Sandler’s Bob Dylan haircut, the actor’s core audience of immature young males will not be lining up this time. Remember "Spanglish‘"s $8.8M bow? Well, it could get worse for "Reign." After "United 93" and "World Trade Center," demand isn’t very high for yet another look at September 11. Given all the choices in the marketplace, adult audiences will be divided between many films so only a small slice might go this way. Debuting in 1,671 venues, "Reign Over Me" could open with about $6M.


Sandler and Cheadle in "Reign Over Me."

The mighty King Leonidas barely broke a sweat over the last two weeks in his box office victories. But the invading armies this weekend will pose a great threat to "300"’s rule. "Shooter" and "Hills" will provide the most direct competition. A 50% drop may be in order which would leave the Warner Bros. epic with roughly $16.5M for the frame and an impressive $157M in 17 days.

"Wild Hogs" may finally see a normal drop and slide by 40% to $11M giving Buena Vista $121M to date. "Premonition" should lose half of its audience and fall to $9M for a ten-day cume of $30M.

LAST YEAR: Spike Lee and Denzel Washington joined forces for the heist thriller "Inside Man" and found themselves at number one with a potent $29M opening. Universal went on to collect $88.5M domestically and $183M worldwide. The competing actioner "V for Vendetta" dropped from first to second with $12.3M falling 52% in its second weekend. Debuting in third was the horror flick "Stay Alive" with $10.7M on its way to $23.1M for Buena Vista. Rounding out the top five were "Failure to Launch" with $10.5M and "The Shaggy Dog" with $9M, both in their third weekends. Bowing in seventh place was the blue collar comedy "Larry the Cable Guy" with $6.9M leading to a $15.7M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Another wave of new releases hits the multiplexes across North America this weekend in hopes of capturing the final dollars of the summer movie season.

Leading the charge are Disney’s football tale "Invincible" for all audiences and the raunchy Warner Bros. comedy "Beerfest" aimed at young men. Music fans will get Universal’s "Idlewild" starring the OutKast duo while the New Line comedy "How to Eat Fried Worms" will play to school kids. Indie hit "Little Miss Sunshine" advances to another round in the box office pageant doubling its theatrical run in hopes of winning over new fans in all parts of the country. Overall, the marketplace looks to remain sluggish with moviegoers not being too impressed with Hollywood’s late-summer menu.

Mark Wahlberg hopes to score a box office touchdown this weekend with the football drama "Invincible" from Disney. The Good Vibrations rapper-turned-actor plays Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender who earns a spot on the starting lineup of the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles. With a PG rating and the studio’s brand name behind it, "Invincible" should play to a broad audience with men connecting to the sports angle, women responding to the emotional true story, and kids coming in for the inspirational underdog tale. The studio has devised a strong marketing promotion with the NFL which has been pushing the film to football fans during the pre-season.


Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg in "Invincible"

Excitement does not match what the studio saw with "Remember the Titans" or what Universal had with "Friday Night Lights." Those fall football films opened with just over $20M a piece. But, "Invincible" does offer a feel-good story that could work for the moment. And Disney can crank out these uplifting sports dramas with its eyes closed. Wahlberg is hit or miss at the box office, but here he should add some decent starpower to the picture. And Greg Kinnear, who plays Coach Dick Vermeil here and also stars in "Little Miss Sunshine," will have a great weekend at the turnstiles allowing his agents to start asking for more bucks for future projects. Charging into more than 2,400 theaters, "Invincible" could live up to its name and score a top spot debut with around $14M.

The Broken Lizard group returns in "Beerfest," a new comedy about a group of American dudes who train to take on the Germans in a secret beer drinking competition in Munich. Warner Bros. is looking to target the frat boy crowd with this R-rated gross-out comedy. With lots of belching and the most shots of bare breasts of any movie released in theaters this year, the studio should hit its mark with older teens and twentysomethings. "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" may have been doing brisk business at this time last year, but R-rated sex comedies with no stars often end up struggling at the box office before finding gold on DVD. Films like "The Girl Next Door," "Eurotrip," "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle," and even Broken Lizard’s "Super Troopers" all opened in the $5-7M range. The troupe’s fan base has grown thanks to cable and video so "Beerfest" should benefit. Plus the studio is giving it a relatively strong push for an end-of-August flick. But it has also been a tough year for R flicks and there is plenty of competition for young males right now. Chugging down brews in over 2,800 theaters, "Beerfest" might drink down about $11M this weekend.


The Broken Lizard troupe is back in "Beerfest"

Andre Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton of the Grammy-winning hip hop act OutKast reunite for the new music-driven film "Idlewild" which also stars Terrence Howard, Cicely Tyson, Patti Labelle, and Ving Rhames. The R-rated drama about the goings-on at a Prohibition-era nightclub will have significant appeal to hardcore fans of the popular musical act and should see much of its business come from African American adult audiences. Casual fans who only know them as the "Hey Ya" guys are not likely to spend money on tickets. Last summer, "Hustle & Flow" played to a similar audience and bowed to $8M from 1,013 theaters for a solid $7,915 average. "Idlewild" is going out in about the same number of playdates and could end up in the same neighborhood. Debuting in 973 theaters, the Universal release could capture about $7M over the frame.


Outkast’s Big Boi in "Idlewild"

New Line offers up "How to Eat Fried Worms," the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling kids book.The PG-rated film is aimed at school children and the tween set with a pic filled with immature boy pranks. Last weekend’s top five lacked any movies for kids so "Worms" should not face too much direct competition. However, excitement might not be high enough to generate a large opening. Parents and children familiar with the book might take a trip to the local cinema for this one. But the real cash will be made on DVD. Opening in about 1,800 theaters, "How to Eat Fried Worms" could bow to around $6M this weekend.


New Line Cinema’s "How To Eat Fried Worms"

In limited release, Sony Classics opens its dramatic thriller "The Quiet" which stars Elisha Cuthbert as a popular cheerleader whose life changes when her parents adopt an orphaned deaf girl into the family. Edie Falco co-stars in the R-rated film which opens in six sites in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. Reviews have been mixed.

Last weekend, "Snakes on a Plane" eked out a victory atop the box office charts with a less-than-expected $15.2M bow. About half of that business was generated on Thursday night and Friday leaving little audience left for the days and weeks ahead. A steep drop is sure to occur this weekend now that the hype is all gone. Most people interested in "Snakes" in the first place have already gone and seen it. A 60% fall would leave New Line with a $6M weekend and a ten-day tally of $26M.

Will Ferrell has been satisfying audiences with "Talladega Nights" all month long. A 35% drop could result giving the Sony hit about $9M for the frame which would push the cume to $128M. A similar decline could be in the works for Paramount’s "World Trade Center" which may grab around $7M this weekend boosting its total to $56M.

The comedy sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" will more than double its run this weekend and further infiltrate theaters across the country. Fox Searchlight’s unstoppable hit will expand from 691 to over 1,400 locations on Friday and could collect about $7M in its fifth frame. That would put "Sunshine’s" cume at $22M putting it on course to become a bigger hit than "Snakes on a Plane" will be.

LAST YEAR: The Steve Carell surprise hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" enjoyed a small decline and held onto the top spot with $16.3M dropping only 24% in its second frame. Miramax opened its Matt Damon adventure "The Brothers Grimm" in second with $15.1M on its way to $37.9M. The airline thriller "Red Eye" followed with $10.3M with the revenge actioner "Four Brothers" in fourth place with $7.9M. Opening poorly in fifth was "The Cave" with $6.1M leading to a disappointing $14.9M finish. The teen flop "Undiscovered" opened to an embarrassing $676,000 from 1,304 theaters for a pathetic $518 average landing in the number 20 spot. The Lions Gate release ended up with a miserable $1.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got four underdog stories. An average Joe tries to play pro football ("Invincible," starring Mark Wahlberg), the new kid in school tries to ward off bullies by consuming soft-bodied invertebrates ("How to Eat Fried Worms"), a ragtag bunch tries to win an international keg-tapping contest ("Beerfest," starring Broken Lizard), and two struggling 1930s musicians try for a big break ("Idlewild," starring Outkast). What do the critics have to say?

Pity the poor Philly football fan. Despite some recent success, the Eagles haven’t had a championship season since 1960. I’ll bet a lot of residents of the City of Brotherly Love think they could do better themselves. Well, "Invincible" tells the true story of a guy who felt that way… and was right. Mark Wahlberg stars as an over-the-hill substitute teacher and bartender who shows up at an open tryout and wows coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) with his speed and skills despite never playing ball in college. The critics say what could have been another clichéd sports drama is elevated by strong performances by Wahlberg and Kinnear, as well as a palpable sense of time and place. "Invincible" is at 74 percent on the Tomatometer.


"I am a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star. I am a big, bright, shining star."

Despite a title that conjures images of a pre-teen "Fear Factor," the critics say "How to Eat Fried Worms" is actually quite tame — or quaint — compared with much of contemporary family fare. Although its youthful cast contribute solid performances, the critics say "Worms" doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the classic children’s book of the same name. Still, they also say the film is good-natured fun for the kids. At 61 percent on the Tomatometer, "Worms" is a reasonably appetizing item on the cinematic menu.


Well, in France they eat snails….

Those Broken Lizard folks are at it again, with another gleefully juvenile movie that should appeal to their cult audience while confounding the critics. Sort of like "Dodgeball" for the pub set, "Beerfest" tells the tale of a group of misfits who take on the world in an international beer drinking contest. While critics concede that there are more than a few moments of boozy, tasteless fun, they also say the film, at 111 minutes, is a little too hit and miss to justify its running time. At 51 percent on the Tomatometer, "Beerfest" is a little too sudsy. Still, it’s the best reviewed Broken Lizard film, beating "Super Troopers," which scored 36 percent.


"Beerfest": More subtle, sophisticated humor from Broken Lizard

Ain’t nobody dope as Outkast — in the studio. The silver screen may be a different matter. Big Boi and Andre 3000 bring their Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to a story set in the Depression era south in "Idlewild." Critics say that with the musical scenes, the cast are the type of people make the club get crunk. But, ah ha, what’s that fuss, then? Well, the scribes say there’s too little of Outkast’s power music electric revival, and the plot gets bogged down in clichés. At 52 percent on the Tomatometer, critics don’t love the way "Idlewild" moves — but don’t hate it either.


"Idlewild": "Crocodile on my feet/ Fox fur on my back/ Bowtie ’round my neck/ That’s why they call me the gangsta mack/ In the Cadillac."

Also in theaters this week in limited release: "Old Joy," an exploration of friendship starring indie darling Will Oldham, is at 100 percent; "LOL," a no-budget tale of hipsters and technology, is at 100 percent; "Princesas," a story of friendship between prostitutes in Madrid, is at 70 percent; "Rolling Family," sort of like an Argentine "Little Miss Sunshine," is at 63 percent; the Spanish sex comedy "Queens" is at 57 percent; and the Elisha Cuthbert/ Camilla Belle psychological thriller "The Quiet" is at 27 percent.

Recent Mark Wahlberg Movies:
————————————–
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
60% — I Heart Huckabees (2004)
73% — The Italian Job (2003)
33% — The Truth about Charlie (2002)
52% — Rock Star (2001)

Recent Big Boi and Andre 3000 Movies:
—————————————————
62% — ATL (2006)
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
29% — Be Cool (2005)

This weekend Samuel L. Jackson looks to seize control of the muthaf*ckin’ box office with his new muthaf*ckin’ film "Snakes on a Plane" which invades theaters on a wave of internet buzz.

It should be a smooth trip to number one for the action thriller which will face competition from the teen comedies "Accepted" and "Material Girls" plus the expansion of the indie darling "Little Miss Sunshine." After two weeks in the top spot, Will Ferrell‘s hit comedy "Talladega Nights" will decelerate and lose pole position, but will have the distinction of crossing the celebrated $100M mark.

All eyes are on Sam Jackson this weekend as his much-blogged-about action vehicle "Snakes on a Plane" makes its way into theaters. The R-rated film presents an old fashioned good guy versus bad guy story with the former Mace Windu playing an FBI agent assigned to escort a key witness to a mob murder on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. When the crime boss masterminds a plan to unleash poisonous snakes mid-flight, all hell breaks loose. New Line has no ambitions of winning Oscars here. "Snakes" is pure entertainment aimed at giving fans a thrill ride for two hours. No advance screenings are being held for the media which is usually a sign that the studio believes that the reviews will only trash the picture so why waste the time and money?

No R-rated film this year has broken the $30M mark on opening weekend. In fact, in the past two years, only a pair of R pics have opened north of that mark – last year’s duo of "Saw II" with $31.7M and "Wedding Crashers" with $33.9M. "Snakes" will be relying on an adult male audience for its ticket sales with older teens and twentysomethings being the driving force. Jackson may also be able to pull in African American audiences given his stature and the type of role he is playing. Typically, the Oscar-nominated actor does not have much box office muscle when anchoring a film solo. But the buzz and media coverage surrounding "Snakes" has almost made it into a franchise.

With so many on the internet buzzing about the movie since the beginning of the year, uploading their own trailers and "Snakes"-related videos, and pushing for more violence and profanity, the fans have gotten a sense of empowerment. They feel like they have been part of the filmmaking process and you can be sure that they will be out when the film opens to see the final product. And since everyone knows that the film will be cheesy and that there are no press screenings, expectations are not too high. Without all the hoopla, this film would only be seen as action movie number ten that Hollywood churns out for the summer season. New Line is taking the step of launching "Snakes" a day early on Thursday night with showtimes starting at 10pm.

August has been a great month for these types of action films for young males. Three years ago, the studio opened the R-rated horror flick "Freddy vs. Jason" to $36.4M while a year later, Fox found a $38.3M bow for its PG-13 sci-fi pic "Alien vs. Predator." Jackson’s film lacks a franchise following, although the hype has generated a sizable built-in audience of its own. "Snakes" will come and go quickly from theaters. A strong start should be followed by massive erosion, but with a reported budget of only $30M, it can’t lose money. Plus Jackson has done a commendable job hitting the trail and promoting his new flick. Attacking over 3,300 theaters, "Snakes on a Plane" could open with around $28M this weekend.

Universal is hoping that those too young for "Snakes," but who are still looking for some late-summer fun, will line up for its new comedy "Accepted." The PG-13 film stars Justin Long as a high school senior rejected by every college he applies to who then decides to make up his own fake university. The under-25 set is the target audience here with teens who can relate to the character’s nightmare making up the bulk of the crowd. Recent young-skewing hits like "Step Up" and "John Tucker Must Die" have proven that no-star vehicles with an interesting concept can lure in solid numbers on opening weekend. Those films debuted to $14.3M and $20.7M, respectively. Studios have done a poor job satisfying teenagers in recent weeks with their big ticket items which has only helped these low-cost pictures. "Accepted" will certainly have to face "Snakes" taking away older guys and "Step Up" in its second weekend stealing away the gals. But the concept is a good one and with so many young people getting ready to head back to campus, memories of rejection letters will come flying back. Marketing materials register some laughs too and appeal to both genders is there. Entering over 2,700 locations, "Accepted" could open with around $12M this weekend.

Hilary and Haylie Duff graduate from the world of breath mint commercials to feature films in "Material Girls" from director Martha Coolidge ("Real Genius," "The Prince and Me"). The PG-rated film finds the sisters playing heiresses to a cosmetics fortune who stumble upon bankruptcy. Anjelica Huston co-stars. The MGM release will play primarily to a female audience of teens and pre-teens. Males interested in buying tickets should number about three. "Material Girls" is not getting too big of a push and with "Step Up" doing so well with the same demographic, it will be an uphill battle attracting business. Once a potent asset, Hilary has lost much of her pull at the box office with recent clunkers like "Raise Your Voice" and "The Perfect Man" landing poor debuts of only $4M and $5.3M, respectively.. The Duffs may end up taking a lesson from the Olsen twins whose own film "New York Minute" opened a week after the bow of 2004’s surprise teen girl hit "Mean Girls" and ended up being squashed with a weak $6M debut from over 3,000 theaters. "Material Girls" will enter only 1,509 playdates and could settle for an opening of just $4M.

After three weeks of sparkling results in limited release, Fox Searchlight’s comedy sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" expands nationally into 694 locations from its current run in 153 sites. Last weekend, the R-rated dysfunctional family pic averaged a stunning $17,014 which is one of the best showings in recent years for a film playing in 100-200 locations. With strong reviews and positive word-of-mouth, "Sunshine" should jump into the top ten this weekend and could gross about $5M pushing its cume into double-digit millions.

Searchlight also debuts its next indie flick "Trust the Man" which opens in 37 theaters in selected cities on Friday. The R-rated dramedy stars Billy Crudup, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes and tells the story of two New York couples going through relationship troubles. Moore’s real-life husband Bart Freundlich directs. "Trust the Man" has garnered mixed reviews from critics and will expand nationwide on September 8.

Also opening in limited release, but attracting more glowing praise from critics, is the dramatic thriller "The Illusionist." Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel star in the PG-13 film which finds a turn-of-the-century magician battling wits with a Vienna cop. Two weeks after the limited bow, Yari Film Group will expand "Illusionist" wide over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

A variable that could affect moviegoing behavior this weekend could be all the current stories in the news this week that have connections to major films in release. Tapes of 911 calls from victims of the World Trade Center disaster have been released after nearly five years. New terror plots aboard commercial planes have dominated the headlines lately, and a new arrest in the Jonbenet Ramsey case has brought attention back to little girls in beauty pageants. How this news coverage will affect the grosses for films like "Snakes on a Plane," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "World Trade Center" is anyone’s guess. But at a time of year when moviegoing typically slows down anyway, some potential ticket buyers may decide to look elsewhere for their weekend entertainment.

Will Ferrell’s "Talladega Nights" looks to race past the $100M mark by the end of its second full week in theaters. The Sony hit won’t win a third box office crown, but it should remain in the top five and drop 45% to about $12M. That would give the racing comedy $113M in 17 days making it the comedian’s second biggest hit ever, in a leading role, behind "Elf" which took in $173.4M.

Last weekend’s surprise smash "Step Up" is not afraid of "Snakes on a Plane" which is likely to tap into an older and more male audience. Instead, Buena Vista’s dance drama will see its competition come from "Accepted" and "Material Girls." Word-of-mouth for "Step Up" has been encouraging with the film averaging a solid B+ from over 5,500 users of Yahoo Movies. Still, teen pics tend to fall fast so a 50% decline would give the film around $10M for the weekend and a stellar ten-day total of $40M.

Paramount’s "World Trade Center" got off to a healthy start at the box office and is also generating positive buzz from moviegoers. Competition is not too fierce this weekend for adults looking for mature fare so a 35% drop would give the Oliver Stone movie roughly $12M and a cume of $46M after 12 days.

LAST YEAR: The surprise comedy hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" debuted at number one with a better-than-expected weekend opening of $21.4M. Universal’s R-rated smash displayed strong legs in the weeks ahead and ended up scoring $109.3M. Settling for second place in its first flight was the DreamWorks thriller "Red Eye" with a solid $16.2M on its way to $57.9M. Rounding out the top five were holdovers "Four Brothers" with $12.5M, "Wedding Crashers" with $8M and "The Skeleton Key" with $7.7M. The frame’s two other new releases were mostly ignored by moviegoers. Disney’s animated pic "Valiant" bowed to $5.9M for eighth place while Fox’s action drama "Supercross" crashed into 15th place with a dismal $1.3M opening weekend. Final tallies reached $19.5M and $3.1M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Despite a pair of newcomers close behind in its rearview mirror, Will Ferrell‘s hit comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby finished in first place for the second consecutive weekend to retain its North American box office trophy.

The frame’s biggest shocker came in second place with the stellar debut of the teen dance drama Step Up which flew past expectations to edge out Oliver Stone‘s high-profile 9/11 film World Trade Center which opened with solid results in third place. The new horror film Pulse launched in fifth place with mediocre results while Tim Allen‘s family film Zoom imploded with a disastrous bow in seventh place.

Talladega Nights held onto the number one spot with an estimated $23M in its second weekend of release dropping an understandable 51%. The $73M Sony hit raced to a total of $91.2M after ten days of release and could find its way to the $140M mark.

Getting high marks in the runnerup spot was Buena Vista’s Step Up which surprised the industry with a sizzling $21.1M opening weekend, according to estimates, from 2,467 theaters. The PG-13 pic about a trained ballerina who joins forces with a tough street dancer averaged a sturdy $8,539 per location and was powered primarily by teenage girls and young women. The surprise muscle of Step Up played out much like the bow of another late-summer film targeting teen girls – 2000’s Bring It On. That pic debuted at number one with $17.4M, spent two weeks at the top, and found its way to $68.4M followed by a pair of non-theatrical sequels keeping the franchise alive to this day.

Oliver Stone’s 9/11 drama World Trade Center finished in third place grossing an estimated $19M over the weekend and $26.8M since debuting on Wednesday. Averaging a solid $6,431 from 2,957 theaters over the Friday-to-Sunday portion, the Paramount release stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as cops buried underneath the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers. Reviews were mostly positive for the $65M film and word-of-mouth so far seems positive. Studio research showed that 91% of those polled called the disaster drama "excellent" or "very good".

While young moviegoers were lining up for Step Up, World Trade Center skewed mostly to a mature adult audience with 65% of the crowd being over the age of 25. Females made up 55% of the audience. With good reviews, positive buzz, and almost no interesting films for adults opening in the coming weeks, World Trade Center could hold up well in the weeks ahead.

Paramount’s animated comedy Barnyard dropped only 36% in its second weekend to an estimated $10.1M for fourth place. With $34.1M in the bank after ten days, the toon could find its way to about $60M. The PG-rated film’s budget was under $50M.

The suspense thriller Pulse debuted in fifth with an estimated $8.5M from a launch in 2,323 sites. Averaging a mild $3,640 per location for The Weinstein Co., the PG-13 film made only a small dent in the overall box office.

Disney took in an estimated $7.2M with its summer tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest lifting its incredible total to a towering $392.4M. The Johnny Depp smash fell just 35% and now sits at number seven on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind Spider-Man which hauled in $403.7M in 2002. Overseas, there’s still no stopping Pirates which vaulted its international total to $463M pushing the global gross to a stunning $855M.

Sony’s Tim Allen family pic Zoom crashed and burned in its debut grossing a measly $4.6M in its opening weekend. Playing in 2,501 theaters, the PG-rated film about an old super hero recruited to train a bunch of kids averaged an embarrassing $1,839 per venue.

The horror flick The Descent dropped 48% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.6M and pushed its ten-day tally to a decent $17.5M. The Lionsgate release should dig up $25-27M by the end of its run. Universal’s action remake Miami Vice suffered another steep drop falling 56% to an estimated $4.5M for a $55.1M total. The animated pic Monster House rounded out the top ten with an estimated $3.3M, off 46%, giving Sony $63.7M to date.

Four more films were tossed right out of the top ten this weekend. Fox’s high school comedy John Tucker Must Die fell 52% to an estimated $3M in its third frame. With a solid $35.7M, the low-budget teen hit should finish with around $40M. Fellow comedy You, Me and Dupree grossed an estimated $1.9M, down 48%, and has collected $70.8M to date. Universal’s $54M pic is set to reach an impressive $74M.

Not-so-impressive results came from The Ant Bully with an estimated $1.8M and The Night Listener with an estimated $1.4M. Tumbling 55%, the Warner Bros. toon has taken in just $22.4M and will stumble to about $25M. Miramax’s Robin Williams thriller has grossed a puny $6.3M for Miramax and could end up with only $8M.

With Hollywood’s summer season of blockbusters coming to an end, plenty of activity was brewing over the weekend with limited release titles. ThinkFilm opened its critically-acclaimed indie Half Nelson in just two New York theaters but grossed a stellar $55,000, according to estimates. The R-rated drama about an inner city teacher with an addiction to crack averaged a potent $27,475 and expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. on August 25.

Sony Classics premiered the Brazilian drama The House of Sand in five locations in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $33,000 for a moderate $6,600 average. The distributor’s teen pregnancy drama Quinceanera widened from eight to 27 theaters in its second weekend and grossed an estimated $138,000 giving the Sundance award winner a mild $5,111 average. Total to date stands at $278,000.

Indie darling Little Miss Sunshine witnessed another powerful expansion widening from 58 to 153 locations for a weekend estimate of $2.6M and a sizzling average of $16,993. Fox Searchlight reported that audiences in the new cities are responding to the stellar word-of-mouth while theaters in existing markets are holding up remarkably well. The weekend decline among holdover theaters was only 17%. With $5.6M in the bank, look for Little Miss Sunshine to pop into the top ten next weekend when it expands into 600 playdates nationwide and remain there with a wider push into 1,500 locations the following frame. So far, the dysfunctional family comedy has performed even better than the distributor’s spring indie hit Thank You for Smoking as well as its 2004 hit Garden State which was released at this same time and in similar fashion. Those films went on to gross $24.7M and $26.8M, respectively.

Paramount Vantage’s global warming film An Inconvenient Truth became the third biggest documentary of all time over the weekend. Al Gore‘s success story took in an estimated $367,000 in its 12th weekend and lifted its cume to $21.9M surpassing the $21.6M of 2002’s Oscar-winning doc Bowling for Columbine.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $105.9M which was up 6% from last year when Four Brothers debuted at number one with $21.2M; but down 12% from 2004 when Alien vs. Predator opened in the top spot with a robust $38.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Another frame packed with four new national releases is led by Oliver Stone‘s 9/11 drama "World Trade Center" from Paramount. A trio of lower profile pics round out the weekend – Sony’s family adventure "Zoom," Buena Vista’s teen drama "Step Up," and The Weinstein Company’s horror flick "Pulse." Despite all the new entries, Will Ferrell will try to win the box office title for the second consecutive time with his comedy "Talladega Nights" which has been racing well ahead of its competition since opening last weekend.

Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Maria Bello star in the high-profile story of courage "World Trade Center" which Paramount debuted on Wednesday. The PG-13 film tells the real life story of John McLoughlin and William Jimeno, two Port Authority cops who were trapped in the rubble of the Twin Towers on September 11. Rather than focus on any villains, "WTC" only tells the story of ordinary men put into extraordinary circumstances and how their families coped. Mature adults will make up the primary audience. Teen appeal seems limited. Since the box office is currently lacking choices for older adults, the Oliver Stone film will not face much direct competition. Men and women will be equally drawn to this emotionally-charged story of heroism.

There will be many moviegoers that will find it to be too soon for a film about a tragedy just approaching its fifth anniversary. However, curiousity will bring out others looking for an uplifting story about that fateful Tuesday morning. "WTC" should appeal to many of the same people who turned out for 2004’s "Ladder 49." That film featured Cage’s "Face/Off" nemesis John Travolta as a noble firefighter and just told a tale about American heroes doing the right thing for each other, and not really dwelling on any enemy. "Ladder" bowed to $22.1M over three days.

Center will also be compared to April’s United 93 which was the first Hollywood film to tackle 9/11. With a subdued release in under 1,800 locations, that pic opened well with $11.5M and a solid $6,395 average. "WTC" has more theaters, more starpower in front of and behind the camera, and is not as grim. Reviews have mostly been good which will help. Long-term prospects are encouraging since the rest of August has nothing major for mature adults. Now playing in 2,803 theaters, "World Trade Center" might open with about $18M over the weekend and around $24M over five days.

Tim Allen plays an ex-super hero who is called upon to train a group of slacker kids in Sony’s new family film "Zoom." The PG-rated pic will have plenty of competition as it marks the fourth consecutive week that studios have rolled out movies aimed at young ones. Only this time, it isn’t a toon. Allen has always been a consistent draw in this genre, most notably in his "Santa Clause" movies which sees its third installment this coming holiday season. Earlier this year, he starred in the Disney remake "The Shaggy Dog" which bowed to $16.3M in March. "Zoom," which co-stars Courteney Cox and Chevy Chase, will not reach that level as it is not generating as much excitement. Plus the volume on the marketing push has been typical of a mid-August opener. Flying into 2,501 theaters, "Zoom" might debut with around $9M.

Hollywood seems to have written a new rule stating that 9/11 films must be counter-programmed with teen-girl pics that explore popular extracurricular activities. "United 93" opened against the gymnastics comedy "Stick It," and now "WTC" will face Buena Vista’s "Step Up" which finds a ballerina and a tough street dancer locking hips. The PG-13 film will play primarily to young females and the studio is hoping to score another low-cost hit like Disney’s April comedy which debuted to a better-than-expected $10.8M. "Step Up" lacks marquee stars, but does offer some faces that add value when it comes to the Clearasil crowd. The bad boy meets good girl formula is once again tested and little crossover to older patrons is likely. Competition for teens and young adults is ample so a breakout bow may not surface, but a respectable showing is likely. Dancing into 2,100 theaters, "Step Up" could debut to around $8M.

Supernatural beasties attack us innocent humans through cell phones and email in the new horror flick "Pulse." The PG-13 film is aimed at teens that have seen every other film and want some quick thrills before heading back to school. With no major stars, and a concept that is far from intriguing, the Weinstein Co. release should be in for some modest dollars over the weekend. "The Descent" will be "Pulse’s" major foe, but like most fright flicks, the chicks-in-a-cave movie should tumble down further on the charts in its second weekend. "Step Up" and "Talladega Nights" will also be distracting teens. Opening in 2,326 theaters, "Pulse" might scare up about $8M this weekend.

In foreign film releases, Yash Raj Films opens the all-star Bollywood film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" (Never Say Goodbye) in top markets across North America. Shot in New York, the Hindi-language film explores the breakdown of marital bonds. Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro ("Central Station") headlines "The House of Sand" which Sony Classics platforms in New York and Los Angeles this Friday. The story of three generations of women in the barren lands of northern Brazil played at the Tribeca Film Festival and will roll out into more cities throughout the rest of summer.

Last weekend’s box office champ "Talladega Nights" hopes to retain its crown in its second lap. The Will Ferrell hit is sure to see a large decline, but competition for teens and young adults is not too fierce. A 50% drop would leave Sony with about $23M for the session and a solid ten-day cume of $92M. Paramount’s "Barnyard" may fall by 40% and rake in around $9.5M pushing its total to $33M after ten days. The Johnny Depp megasmash "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" could drop by another 40% to $6.5M lifting its jaw-dropping total to $392M.

LAST YEAR: Director John Singleton scored a top spot debut with his revenge thriller "Four Brothers" which debuted with $21.2M. Paramount found its way to $74.5M with the Mark Wahlberg drama. Opening in second was the Kate Hudson suspense thriller "The Skeleton Key" with $16.1M on its way to $47.8M for Universal. Falling from first to third was the comedy "The Dukes of Hazzard" with $13M dropping a steep 58% from its bow. Rival comedy "Wedding Crashers" held up much better easing 26% in its fifth frame to $11.8M. Opening in fifth place with $9.6M was Sony’s comedy sequel "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" which ended its run with just $22.3M. The weekend’s other new release, the military drama "The Great Raid," opened modestly in tenth with only $3.4M on its way to $10.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got a magical remote control ("Click") and a father who’s trying to rescue his son ("Waist Deep"). Will the critics dig "Deep?" Will they pick "Click?"

Adam Sandler‘s latest, "Click," traffics in a premise that most of us have probably considered at one point or another: Wouldn’t it be cool if we could control everything around us with the push of a button? And would that necessarily be a good thing? But lemme tell you something about Hollywood, kids: good ideas are a dime a dozen. And the critics say "Click," like an aimless round of channel surfing, is pretty inconsistent, veering from yuks early on to goopy sentiment toward the end. It’s at 22 percent on the Tomatometer, but we know that Adam Sandler is pretty critic-proof; his average Tomatometer is 29 percent, and we love him anyway.


Adam Sandler "Clicks" with the Fonz! Heyyyy!

"Waist Deep" is an attempt to cross gritty urban action with a story of redemption; unfortunately, according to critics, it’s not terribly successful. The plot involves an ex-con, played by Tyrese Gibson, who must venture outside the law in order to recover his kidnapped son. While a number of critics say the film is well-made and well-meaning, others say it’s too violent and far-fetched to be truly compelling. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Waist" is only sporadically worth watching.


"Wassup Rockers:" Skateboarding is not a crime.

Also opening this week, albeit in limited release: "The Road to Guantanamo," a searing mix of documentary and fiction, is at 92 percent; "The Hidden Blade," a subdued samurai tale, is at 85 percent; "Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man" is at 75 percent, which will perhaps prompt the fans of the cult figure to exclaim, "Hallelujah!"; and "Wassup Rockers," Larry Clark‘s film about a wild day in the life of a posse of teenage skaters, is at 38 percent.

Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
——————————————
29% — The Longest Yard (2005)
52% — Spanglish (2004)
43% — 50 First Dates (2004)
42% — Anger Management (2003)
81% — Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Recent Tyrese Gibson Movies:
—————————————-
11% — Annapolis (2006)
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
28% — Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
38% — 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
67% — Baby Boy (2001)

The giant robots are, of course, the stars of the "Transformers" universe, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be a shortage of flesh & blood actors signing on for the massive production. The newest names added to the call sheet are Tyrese Gibson ("Four Brothers"), Rachael Taylor ("Man-Thing"), and Amaury Nolasco ("The Benchwarmers").

The latest cast additions come from DarkHorizons and The Hollywood Reporter.

"The Transformers," which will come from screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, director Michael Bay, and executive producer Steven Spielberg, already has a pretty stacked cast list. The newest trio join Shia LaBeouf, Bernie Mac, Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel, Michael Clarke Duncan, John Turturro, a few others, and a bunch that probably haven’t been announced yet. Plus all those giant robots who morph into vehicles.

The film critics of Central Ohio have chimed in with their own year-end picks, and they came up with quite a few solid surprises, actually. How about "A History of Violence" as best film of the year?

Best Picture

A History of Violence
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Direction

David Cronenberg, A History of Violence
Runner up: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Best Lead Performance

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Runner up: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Performance

Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Runner up: Amy Adams, Junebug

Actor of the Year

Heath Ledger — Brokeback Mountain, Casanova, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm
Runner up: Terrence HowardCrash, Four Brothers, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Hustle & Flow

Best Ensemble

Munich
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Screenplay

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Runner up: George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Formal Design

Sin City
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Sound Design

War of the Worlds
Runner up: Walk the Line

Breakthrough Film Artist

Amy Adams — Junebug
Runner up: Joe WrightPride & Prejudice

Top Ten Films

A History of Violence
Brokeback Mountain
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich
Murderball
Crash
Sin City
Pride & Prejudice
Batman Begins

As always, we thank Movie City News for sharing all the lists.

If you’re a fan of the late-year awards season, be sure to add Movie City News to your hit list, because they deliver some consistently excellent coverage. Mid-December is when most of the critics’ groups start doling out their accolades, and so far we’ve gotten input from reviewers’ groups in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington.

Boston Film Critics Awards

Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain

Best Director

Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)

Best Supporting Actor
Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man)

Best Supporting Actress
Catherine Keener (Capote)

Best Screenplay
Dan Futterman (Capote)

Best Documentary
Murderball

David Brudnoy New Filmmaker Award
Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice)

Best Ensemble Cast
Syriana

Best Cinematography
Robert Elswit (Good Night and Good Luck)

Best Foreign Film
Kung Fu Hustle

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain
Runner-up: A History of Violence

Best Director
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Runner-up: David Cronenberg, A History of Violence

Best Actor
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Runner-up: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Best Actress
Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
Runner-up: Dame Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Best Supporting Actor
William Hurt, A History of Violence
Runner-up: Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Supporting Actress
Catherine Keener, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Capote, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, & The Interpreter
Runner-up: Amy Adams, Junebug

Best Screenplay
TIE between
Dan Futterman, Capote
and
Noah Baumbach, The Squid & The Whale

Best Cinematography
Robert Elswit, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Runner-up: Chris Doyle, Kwan Pun Leung, Yiu-Fai Lai, 2046

Best Production Design
William Chang, 2046
Runner-up: James D. Bissell, Good Night, And Good Luck.

Best Music Score
Howl’s Moving Castle, Joe Hisaishi
Runner-up: Tony Takatani, Ryuichi Sakamoto

Best Foreign-Language Film
Cache, directed by Michael Haneke
Runner-up: 2046, directed by Wong Kar Wai

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film
Grizzly Man, directed by Werner Herzog
Runner-up: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room directed by Alex Gibney

Best Animation
Nick Park and Steve Box, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The Douglas Edwards Experimental/Independent Film/Video Award
La Commune (Paris, 1871) directed by Peter Watkins

New Generation Award
Terrence Howard

Career Achievement Award
Richard Widmark

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain

Best Director

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Best Non-Fiction Films
Werner Herzog for Grizzly Man and White Diamond

Best Foreign-Language Film

2046, directed by Wong Kar Wai

Best First Film
Bennet Miller for Capote

Best Animated Feature
Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle

Best Actor
Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon for Walk The Line

Best Supporting Actor
William Hurt, A History of Violence

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bello, A History of Violence

Best Cinematography
Chris Doyle, Kwan Pun Leung, Yiu-Fai Lai for 2046

Best Screenplay
Noah Baumbach for The Squid & The Whale

NYFCO Awards (New York Film Critics Online)

Best Picture
The Squid and the Whale

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)

Best Actress
Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice)

Best Director
Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener)

Best Supporting Actor
Oliver Platt (Casanova)

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (Junebug)

Best Breakthrough Performer

Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Crash, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Four Brothers)

Best Debut Director
Paul Haggis (Crash)

Best Screenplay

Paul Haggis (Crash)

Best Documentary
Grizzly Man

Best Foreign Language
Downfall

Best Animated
Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Cinematography

March of the Penguins

Top 9
The Best of Youth (Miramax)
Brokeback Mountain (Focus)
Capote (Sony Classics)
The Constant Gardener (Focus)
Crash (Lions Gate)
Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent)
Munich (Universal/DreamWorks)
The Squid and the Whale (Samuel Goldwyn)
Syriana (Warner Bros.)

Washington Area Film Critics Awards

Best Actor

Phillip Seymor Hoffman – Capote

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Giamatti – Cinderella Man

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – Junebug

Best Director
Steven Spielberg – Munich

Best Original Screenplay
Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco – Crash

Best Adapted Screenplay
Dan Futterman – Capote

Best Film
Munich / Universal

Best Foreign Film
Kung Fu Hustle / Sony Pictures Classic

Best Animated Feature
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit / DreamWorks

Best Documentary
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room / Magnolia Pictures

Best Breakthrough Performance

Terrence Howard – Hustle & Flow

Best Ensemble

Crash / Lions Gate

Best Art Direction
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe / Buena Vista

This is just the tip of the iceberg, awards-wise, but you can expect lots of frequent updates over the upcoming weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter brings news of director John Singleton‘s next project, an auto-intensive action thriller called “Convoy.”

“John Singleton is in negotiations to direct “Convoy” for Paramount Pictures. The action-adventure film would reteam Singleton and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who collaborated on the sleeper summer hit “Four Brothers,” which grossed nearly $75 million for Paramount. Di Bonaventura is producing “Convoy” through his Paramount-based di Bonaventura Pictures. Penned by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, the story revolves around a group of U.S. truck drivers who make a one-year commitment to drive goods for U.S. contractors through the Afghan war zone because of financial hardships back home.”

John Singleton also “Boyz n the Hood,” “Poetic Justice,” “Higher Learning,” “Rosewood,” “Shaft,” “Baby Boy,” and “2 Fast 2 Furious.”

This project has no relation to the 1978 Sam Peckinpah / Kris Kristofferson truck flick of the same name, but I dig the poster anyway

Universal’s "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" maintained its grasp on first place at the box office for a second consecutive weekend, beating out a trio of newcomers without exerting too much effort. "Virgin" pulled in $16.4 million in its second frame, which is a rather impressive 23% decline from its opening weekend. So far the 40-year-old has sold nearly $49 million worth of tickets.

Debuting in second place was Terry Gilliam‘s "The Brothers Grimm," which tallied just over $15 million from just under 3,100 theaters. Also holding over fairly well from last weekend was Wes Craven‘s "Red Eye," which added just over $10 million to its $32.6 million total.

The top five was rounded out by Paramount’s "Four Brothers" ($7.8m weekend; $55.3m total) and "Wedding Crashers," which tossed an extra $6.2 million on to its $187.7 million money-pile.

This past Friday also saw the rather inauspicious release of the subterranean chiller "The Cave," which made about $6.2 million from 2,200 theaters, and the ensemble rom-com "Undiscovered," which brought in under $700,000 from 1,300 theaters.

Next week sees four new wide (or semi-wide) releases, including Fernando Meirelles‘ "The Constant Gardener," WB’s oft-delayed "A Sound of Thunder," Fox’s genre sequel "Transporter 2," and the Miramax high-school comedy "Underclassman."

As always, you should feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page for a closer look at the cineplex moneymakers.