Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment

(Photo by Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment)

All Idris Elba Movies Ranked

To some fans, Idris Elba will forever be Stringer Bell from The Wire. To others, he’ll always be best remembered as John Luther. For still others, he’s the guy who gave us the Heimdall of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or — and this is admittedly a much smaller subset — finally brought gunslinger Roland Deschain to the big screen in the long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. All of which is to say that Mr. Elba’s done a lot in his impressive career, and by all appearances, he’s still just getting started: even if those persistent rumors about him taking over the James Bond franchise never pan out, he’s got plenty of projects lined up to add to an eclectic filmography that already includes some of the more popular and widely acclaimed TV and film releases in recent memory, including an original character in The Suicide Squad. And now we’re ranking all Idris Elba movies by Tomatometer!

#37

Prom Night (2008)
7%

#37
Adjusted Score: 9004%
Critics Consensus: A dim and predictable remake of an already dull slasher film, this Prom Night fails to be memorable.
Synopsis: When a deranged high-school teacher kills the family of the girl, Donna, that he loves, in a disturbed attempt to... [More]
Directed By: Nelson McCormick

#36

The Reaping (2007)
8%

#36
Adjusted Score: 13415%
Critics Consensus: It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline "What hath God wrought?" It's schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free.
Synopsis: Katherine Morrissey (Hilary Swank), a former Christian missionary, lost her faith after the tragic deaths of her family. Now she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#35

The Unborn (2009)
10%

#35
Adjusted Score: 14407%
Critics Consensus: David Goyer's Unborn is a tame genre effort with cheap thrills and scares that border on silliness.
Synopsis: Plagued by nightmares and visitations from tortured ghosts, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) turns to a spiritual adviser named Sendak (Gary... [More]
Directed By: David S. Goyer

#34

No Good Deed (2014)
12%

#34
Adjusted Score: 13679%
Critics Consensus: Dull, derivative, and generally uninspired, No Good Deed wastes its stars' talents -- and the audience's time.
Synopsis: An unsuspecting Atlanta woman (Taraji P. Henson) lets in a charming stranger (Idris Elba) to use her phone and soon... [More]
Directed By: Sam Miller

#33

The Dark Tower (2017)
16%

#33
Adjusted Score: 35749%
Critics Consensus: Go then, there are other Stephen King adaptations than these.
Synopsis: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known... [More]
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel

#32

The Gunman (2015)
16%

#32
Adjusted Score: 23103%
Critics Consensus: With an uninspired plot and rote set pieces that are overshadowed by its star's physique, The Gunman proves a muddled misfire in the rapidly aging Over-50 Action Hero genre.
Synopsis: Eight years after fleeing the Congo following his assassination of that country's minister of mining, former assassin Jim Terrier (Sean... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Morel

#31
Adjusted Score: 21365%
Critics Consensus: With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]

#30

Obsessed (2009)
19%

#30
Adjusted Score: 21090%
Critics Consensus: The inevitable Fatal Attraction comparisons aside, Obsessed is a generic, toothless thriller both instantly predictable and instantly forgettable.
Synopsis: Things couldn't be better for Derek Charles (Idris Elba). He's just received a big promotion at work, and has a... [More]
Directed By: Steve Shill

#29

Cats (2019)
19%

#29
Adjusted Score: 39544%
Critics Consensus: Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.
Synopsis: A tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 26585%
Critics Consensus: Daddy's Little Girls boasts fine performances and a poignant message, but is ultimately let down by amateurish filmmaking.
Synopsis: Monty (Idris Elba), a mechanic, struggles to make ends meet and raise his three young daughters alone. When his drug-dealing... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#27

Takers (2010)
28%

#27
Adjusted Score: 30888%
Critics Consensus: Takers boasts some gripping set pieces and keeps things moving quickly, but its two-dimensional characters, clichéd script, and brazenly derivative plot make it hard to recommend.
Synopsis: Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba) and his friends enjoy a luxurious lifestyle funded by bank robberies, and they avoid capture by... [More]
Directed By: John Luessenhop

#26

The Gospel (2005)
32%

#26
Adjusted Score: 32653%
Critics Consensus: While it features outstanding musical numbers, The Gospel reduces a series of worthy themes -- faith, family, forgiveness -- to soapy, banal clichés.
Synopsis: While he was once on the way to becoming a minister, David Taylor (Boris Kodjoe) instead chose to become a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hardy

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 50740%
Critics Consensus: The Mountain Between Us may be too far-fetched for some viewers to appreciate, but it's elevated by reliably engaging performances from Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.
Synopsis: Stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must work together to endure the extreme elements of... [More]
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 43062%
Critics Consensus: 100 Streets strands its talented cast - led by a clearly overqualified Idris Elba - in the midst of a well-meaning but fatally contrived drama.
Synopsis: Three different stories covering infidelity, adoption and a drug dealer turned actor are intertwined as characters meet in the streets... [More]
Directed By: Jim O'Hanlon

#23

Bastille Day (2016)
48%

#23
Adjusted Score: 51321%
Critics Consensus: Bastille Day proves Idris Elba is an action hero in waiting -- specifically, waiting for a script that deserves his talents.
Synopsis: A rogue CIA agent (Idris Elba) forms an unlikely partnership with a pickpocket (Richard Madden) to stop a terrorist conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#22

The Losers (2010)
48%

#22
Adjusted Score: 54141%
Critics Consensus: The Losers is loud, fast, and unrelentingly violent -- but it's also funny and well-acted, which will make all the difference for some action fans.
Synopsis: On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, a team of elite commandos (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans) finds itself... [More]
Directed By: Sylvain White

#21

This Christmas (2007)
55%

#21
Adjusted Score: 57022%
Critics Consensus: This Christmas features strong performances and a sharp portrayal of family dynamics, but relies too heavily on holiday movie clichés.
Synopsis: At holiday time, family matriarch Ma'Dere Whitfield (Loretta Devine) assembles her large brood for their first reunion in four years.... [More]

#20

RocknRolla (2008)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 64591%
Critics Consensus: Mixed reviews for Guy Ritchie's return to his London-based cockney wideboy gangster movie roots, but most agree, it's a step in the right direction following two major turkeys.
Synopsis: Old-school mobster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules London's underworld with an iron fist and a score of well-greased palms. As... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#19
Adjusted Score: 66448%
Critics Consensus: It might be too respectful to truly soar, but there's no denying Idris Elba's impressive work in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom -- or the inspirational power of the life it depicts.
Synopsis: The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) takes center stage. Though he... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chadwick

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 77761%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark... [More]
Directed By: Alan Taylor

#17
Adjusted Score: 88518%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#16

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#16
Adjusted Score: 79379%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#15

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#15
Adjusted Score: 84164%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#14

Prometheus (2012)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86491%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott's ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but it's redeemed by its haunting visual grandeur and compelling performances -- particularly Michael Fassbender as a fastidious android.
Synopsis: The discovery of a clue to mankind's origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 90788%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#12

Second Coming (2014)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 77462%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unexplained pregnancy forces a husband to doubt his wife's faithfulness.... [More]
Directed By: Debbie Tucker Green

#11

Thor (2011)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 87536%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Synopsis: As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 89289%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) earns his living as a chauffeur to one of Harlem's leading mobsters. After his boss dies,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#9

Molly's Game (2017)
82%

#9
Adjusted Score: 99853%
Critics Consensus: Powered by an intriguing story and a pair of outstanding performances from Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, Molly's Game marks a solid debut for writer-director Aaron Sorkin.
Synopsis: The true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Sorkin

#8

Legacy (2010)
86%

#8
Adjusted Score: 25257%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A former soldier (Idris Elba), who was once captured and tortured during a mission, has a mental breakdown while holed... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Ikimi

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 114162%
Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#6

Star Trek Beyond (2016)
86%

#6
Adjusted Score: 105804%
Critics Consensus: Star Trek Beyond continues the franchise's post-reboot hot streak with an epic sci-fi adventure that honors the series' sci-fi roots without skimping on the blockbuster action.
Synopsis: A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 101462%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of No Nation finds writer-director Cary Fukunaga working with a talented cast to offer a sobering, uncompromising, yet still somehow hopeful picture of war's human cost.
Synopsis: As civil war rages in Africa, a fierce warlord (Idris Elba) trains a young orphan (Abraham Attah) to join his... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#4

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 126309%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Synopsis: Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#3

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 115466%
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor's classic story.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#2

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114751%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#1

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115819%
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Directed By: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.

Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.


30 Days of Night

Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.


The Comebacks

Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend’s other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition

Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director’s chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.


Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone
Yet another new option for adults looking for serious fare is the Halle BerryBenicio Del Toro starrer Things We Lost in the Fire. The Paramount release about a widow who seeks comfort from her dead husband’s drug-addicted friend will play to a mature audience and skew more female. The R-rated film has generated some good early reviews and both leads have Oscars on their shelves, but it will not be enough to compete with the other films targeting the same crowd. Berry showed in April that she can only open a picture so much when her thriller Perfect Stranger bowed to a $4,211 average even though A-lister Bruce Willis co-starred. With a not-so-wide release in about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Things We Lost in the Fire might debut with around $3M.


Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in Things We Lost in the Fire

Freestyle Releasing has booked the few remaining empty screens out there for its teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour. As one of the only PG-rated suspense pics ever made, the film will try to attract younger teenagers not interested in sports-themed comedies. With only 1,100 theaters, a quiet marketing campaign, no stars, and zero buzz, a weak debut of about $1M could result.


Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

After a potent number one debut, Tyler Perry‘s hit comedy Why Did I Get Married? should suffer a big fall in its second weekend if history is any indicator. Sophomore drops for the filmmaker’s previous offerings include 50% for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 58% for Madea’s Family Reunion, and 57% for Daddy’s Little Girls. Lionsgate should see a 50% fall to about $10M this weekend giving the ensemble relationship tale $37M in ten days.

Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.

Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.

LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot. Among the top contenders are Sony’s crime thriller We Own the Night, the Lionsgate comedy Why Did I Get Married?, and the George Clooney vehicle Michael Clayton which expands nationally after its scorching debut in limited release. Adding to the mix are the costume drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the baseball tale The Final Season. The box office race should be a tight one with as many as four films likely to reach the low double digit millions.

Oscar nominated actors Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix face off as brothers on different sides of the law in the new action thriller We Own the Night. The R-rated pic co-stars Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes and will target an adult audience with a slightly male skew. The former Marky Mark proved his box office pull last spring as the only major star in Shooter which bowed to $14.5M and a $5,176 average by targeting the same audience. Things will be more difficult this time because of the intense competition for mature audiences especially from Michael Clayton. But Night‘s biggest advantage over Michael is that it has two commercial stars instead of just one. The combo should lead to a slim edge at the cash registers.

Despite its awkward title, Night has been pushing itself as an action-packed thriller with faces people love to watch. Reviews have been mixed and with such a crowded field, it will be hard to stand out as a must-see option. Starpower should be the main factor here and showdowns between two solid actors are usually popular with ticket buyers. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, We Own the Night could debut to about $12M.


Phoenix and Wahlberg in We Own the Night

Taking on those boys with some machismo of his own, George Clooney heads into wide release with his legal drama Michael Clayton which Warner Bros. has drummed up plenty of awards buzz for. The R-rated pic bowed to a sizzling $47,994 average last weekend from its platform bow in the Clooney-friendly towns of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. This weekend, the thriller will face the real test when it enters every major market across the 50 states. Thanks to his political outspokenness, the Academy Award winning actor has become a polarizing figure. He could easily win an election to become mayor of Hollywood, but in other parts of the country people would gladly pay theaters to not play his movies.

Clayton will test his drawing power since the film has no other box office anchors in it. Co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack are well-respected, but they don’t sell tickets. There is plenty of direct competition which is why the film got a head start a week early. Buzz from its red hot platform bow has spread helping to build interest. The crowd will consist of the same people that opened Syriana to $11.7M, The Black Dahlia to $10M, and Zodiac to $13.4M. Night will take away some males and Elizabeth will steal some females so a huge gross will be hard to find. But over the long-term the film could have legs. Expanding into 2,511 locations, Michael Clayton stands as the widest of the new offerings and may capture around $11M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Clooney as Clayton

Tyler Perry‘s latest relationship comedy Why Did I Get Married? finds trouble brewing when four married couples come together for an annual winter getaway. The writer/director’s films have always tapped into his loyal fan base with African American women at the core. His 2005 smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman surprised the industry with its first-place debut with $21.9M and a $14,771 average and was followed a year later by Madea’s Family Reunion which grew bigger with a $30M launch. Perry’s last pic Daddy’s Little Girls, also a February release, saw more modest numbers with a $11.2M opening as the filmmaker did not star in the pic.

Married does not have the promotional value of Black History Month or the help of Presidents Day which Girls had early this year. However, Perry’s new film will not face any direct competitors for its target audience. Girls had to face the second weekend of Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy Norbit which offered some audience overlap. Plus Married boasts more starpower with Perry back on screen and an added boost will come from Janet Jackson who is always a strong draw at the box office with the target audience every time she makes a rare appearance in a movie. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate is unlike anything else in the marketplace right now and with few buzzworthy films aimed at black moviegoers in recent months, it should successfully connect. Debuting in 2,011 theaters, Why Did I Get Married? might open with roughly $12M this weekend.


Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?
Another female-driven film, but taking place centuries ago and across the pond, is the historical drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age which finds Cate Blanchett reprising the role of the British Queen which made her a star nine years ago. The PG-13 pic also finds Geoffrey Rush returning and adds Clive Owen to the mix telling the story of the later years of the monarch’s 16th century reign when threats from Spain and a possible love affair at home led to new challenges. Though at the core a costume drama like its predecessor, Universal’s marketing has played up the action and adventure elements in hopes of attracting men looking for warfare and battle scenes. That may backfire when word gets out that there is actually very little action on screen.

The first Elizabeth opened in limited release in November 1998 and rolled through awards season that winter eventually reaching an impressive $30M while never playing in more than 600 theaters. It also bagged seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Now the studio is hoping that a built-in audience will want to take another trip to the past. Though the first was an acclaimed picture, no real demand ever surfaced for a sequel. So it will be tough for Golden Age at the box office especially with all the competition. Female-led dramas often struggle in the marketplace since it is often too hard for adult women to drag men with them to the multiplex for these stories. New films from Clooney and Wahlberg offer more cross-gender appeal. Ordering her troops into 2,000 theaters on Friday, Elizabeth: The Golden Age might take home about $8M over the three-day period.


Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush in Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Likely to strike out at the box office this weekend is the high school baseball pic The Final Season which stars Sean Astin, Larry Miller, and Powers Boothe. The PG-rated film offers no starpower and has generated very little excitement for itself in the marketplace. Most sports fans interested in the national pastime will tune into the playoffs on their television sets this weekend. A quick trip to DVD is assured for this one which has no guarantee to clinch a spot in the top ten. Opening in about 1,000 theaters, a weekend take of just $2M could be in the works.


The Final Season

Among holdovers, The Game Plan surprised the industry two weeks in a row by taking the number one spot. Given its strong legs and continued lack of competition for the family audience and younger teens, a third round on top is not totally out of the question. Should all the newbies eat into each other and all fail to reach the $12M mark, the Disney kidpic by default may stay put. A 25% decline would give The Game Plan a third weekend tally of $12.5M pushing the 17-day total to a solid $58M.

Paramount and DreamWorks were caught by surprise by the lack of strength for the opening of the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid. With nothing to keep it afloat, a 45% decline might be in order especially since adults will be distracted by a wide assortment of other options. That would give the Farrelly brothers a sophomore session of about $7.5M and a cume of only $25.5M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony used the Friday the 13th before Halloween to launch the sequel to one of the most successful horror films in history and captured the number one spot. The Grudge 2 bowed on top with $20.8M accounting for more than half of its $39.1M final. Eventual Oscar champ The Departed slipped to second with $19M easing only 29% for Warner Bros. The Robin Williams political comedy Man of the Year debuted in third with $12.3M before finishing with a disappointing $37.3M for Universal. Rounding out the top five were the Sony toon Open Season with $11.1M and New Line’s fright franchise flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with $7.5M for a steep 60% plunge. Opening with weak results in sixth was the action pic The Marine with $7.1M on its way to $18.8M for Fox. The religious-themed drama One Night with the King bowed to $4.1M with a good $4,518 average and finished with $13.4M for 8X.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviegoers rallied behind the star-driven comedy "Wild Hogs," which raced to number one at the North American box office, zooming past all expectations from Disney. Meanwhile, Viacom saw less-than-stellar debuts from its serial killer drama "Zodiac" from Paramount Pictures and the southern fried saga "Black Snake Moan" from arthouse unit Paramount Vantage. Overall, the box office remained healthy and surged well ahead of last year’s performance.

Buena Vista powered its way to an estimated $38M in opening weekend sales for its road comedy "Wild Hogs," delivering the largest March debut in history for a live-action film. The PG-13 pic starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy as four middle-aged men on a motorcycle adventure averaged a stellar $11,561 from 3,287 theaters. It was the year’s second biggest opening after "Ghost Rider‘s" $45.4M bow two weeks ago. According to studio research, 54% of the audience was actually female. Travolta’s everlasting sex appeal, Allen’s pull with moms thanks to his many Disney flicks, and the cast’s appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last week probably contributed to the solid turnout by women. The stars also allowed the film to tap into different audience segments.

"Wild Hogs" posted the best opening ever in March for a non-animated film and the third biggest overall. The only movies to debut better in this month were the "Ice Age" flicks of 2002 and 2006. It also gave Travolta the biggest opening by far of his career, beating the $23.5M of 2005’s "Be Cool," and the second best bow for Allen after the $57.4M bow of 1999’s "Toy Story 2." As expected, "Hogs" was slammed by critics but reviews are practically irrelevant for a star-driven comedy like this. This is a crowdpleaser, not a criticpleaser. Audiences make their decisions based on if they think they will get a good laugh or not and Buena Vista’s marketing push was indeed solid. Though the overall weekend gross was strong, what was even more encouraging was the significant Friday-to-Saturday boost of 49% which is rare for any new release. A journey into nine-digit territory seems likely.

Debuting far back in second place was the serial killer pic "Zodiac," with an estimated $13.1M from 2,362 sites. Averaging a respectable $5,546 per theater, the R-rated film from director David Fincher played to an older audience as two-thirds of the crowd was over the age of 25, according to studio research from Paramount. Males and females were evenly represented. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, "Zodiac" follows the investigation behind one of California’s most notorious murderers from the 1960s and 70s. The $65M film fared better than last fall’s murder mysteries set in the Golden State, "The Black Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland," which debuted to $10M and $5.9M respectively.

Reviews were overwhelmingly positive for "Zodiac," but its 160-minute length may have cut into its grossing potential. Plus when factoring in ticket prices increases over the years, it can be estimated that "Zodiac" sold the fewest opening weekend tickets of any of Fincher’s films. Admissions were roughly the same as for "Fight Club," which bowed to $11M in 1999. The studio is hoping that good word-of-mouth can carry the film in the weeks ahead.

After leading the pack for two full weeks, the Johnny Blaze flick "Ghost Rider" fell to third but only dropped 43% for an estimated $11.5M gross. Sony’s Nicolas Cage starrer has taken in $94.8M in 17 days and should become the first new release of 2007 to break the $100M barrier. Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" also held up well dipping 39% in its third adventure to an estimated $8.6M. Cume stands at $57.9M.

Jim Carrey‘s thriller "The Number 23" fell from second to fifth place in its sophomore scare and collected an estimated $7.1M. Down an understandable 52%, the New Line title has taken in a semi-decent $24.7M in ten days and looks headed for a $35-38M finish.

Eddie Murphy‘s latest comedy "Norbit" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten and dipped 34% to an estimated $6.4M for a $83M sum. Fellow laugher "Music and Lyrics" dropped just 36% to an estimated $4.9M giving the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore pic $38.7M to date.

Paramount Vantage bowed its Samuel L. JacksonChristina Ricci drama "Black Snake Moan" and collected an estimated $4M from 1,252 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,208, the debut was half the size of writer/director Craig Brewer‘s last film "Hustle & Flow," which opened in July 2005 to $8M from 1,013 theaters on its way to $22.2M and an Oscar. Jackson has witnessed many of his headlining vehicles struggle at the box office including "Freedomland," "The Man," and even "Snakes on a Plane," which despite hitting the top spot, grossed much less than expected given its media hype last summer.

The Fox comedy "Reno 911!: Miami" tumbled 64% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.8M for a ninth place finish. The R-rated pic has grossed $16.4M in ten days and should conclude with roughly $20M. Rounding out the top ten was the FBI thriller "Breach" with an estimated $3.5M, off 42%, for a $25.4M total.

Three smaller films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" dipped only 26% in its second weekend to an estimated $3M. With $8.2M in ten days, the Samuel Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions period pic may find its way to $15-18M. The Billy Bob Thornton flop "The Astronaut Farmer" grossed an estimated $2.2M, down 52%, and put its sum at an embarrassing $7.7M. Look for a $11M final.

Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry comedy "Daddy’s Little Girls" fell 53% to an estimated $2.3M in its third frame and upped its cume to $28.4M. By comparison, the distributor saw stronger 17-day grosses of $44M and $55.7M respectively for the director’s last two films, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea’s Family Reunion." "Daddy’s" should end its run with $30-33M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $100.8M which was up a stunning 30% from last year when "Madea" stayed at number one with just $12.6M; but off 4% from 2005 when "The Pacifier" debuted on top with $30.6M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage ruled Oscar weekend with his skull-on-fire motorcycle actioner "Ghost Rider," which held steady at number one in North America for the second straight time. Moviegoers delivered different verdicts to the handful of new releases led by the Jim Carrey thriller "The Number 23," which fared best and debuted in second place. Overall, the top ten was about even with the corresponding weekends from the last two years.

Dropping 57% from its powerful opening weekend, "Ghost Rider" took in an estimated $19.7M over the weekend and pushed its ten-day tally to a sensational $78.7M. The big-budget Sony actioner adapted from the popular Marvel comic book series suffered a decline similar to that of 2003’s "Daredevil," which sank 55% in its second frame after an explosive bow over Presidents’ Day weekend. That super hero flick captured 68% of its domestic total in the first ten days. "Ghost Rider" is so far following the same path which means a final gross of $115-120M seems likely.

Comedy guru Jim Carrey took a stab at horror with his new psychological thriller "The Number 23" and saw moderate results with a $15.1M launch, according to estimates. Playing in 2,759 theaters, the R-rated film averaged $5,476 per location for New Line. Critics were brutal to the scary pic, but the opening fared better than those of most of Carrey’s previous non-comedies.

Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" dropped 40% in its sophomore adventure and pulled in an estimated $13.6M in ticket sales. The PG-rated fantasy has banked an impressive $46.2M in ten days and may be heading for around $75M overall.

Fox saw a not-so-arresting debut for its cop comedy "Reno 911!: Miami," which opened in fourth place with an estimated $10.4M. The R-rated feature adapted from the moderately successful Comedy Central series averaged a mild $3,849 from a wide release in 2,702 theaters. By comparison, openings for other recent R-rated comedies based on popular television properties include $26.5M for "Borat" and $29M for "Jackass: Number Two," both of which bowed at number one.

Eddie Murphy‘s comedy "Norbit" dropped 42% to an estimated $9.7M in its third weekend raising its total to $74.7M for Paramount. Warner Bros. followed with its own comedy "Music and Lyrics," which pulled in an estimated $8M in its sophomore weekend. Down a reasonable 41%, the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore pic has taken in $32.1M in 12 days and could be headed for the $50M mark.

Universal’s "Breach" dipped 41% in its second weekend to an estimated $6.2M. With $20.5M in ten days, the FBI thriller in on course for a $35M total. The Tyler Perry comedy "Daddy’s Little Girls" lost half of its audience in the second weekend just like the director’s last two February comedies. The Lionsgate release grossed an estimated $5.3M, down 53%, and has taken in $25.6M. Both "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea’s Family Reunion" made about 75% of their total grosses in the first ten days so a $35M final for Girls seems likely.

A pair of new releases rounded out the top ten. Warner Bros. saw a dismal opening for its Billy Bob Thornton drama "The Astronaut Farmer," which grossed an estimated $4.5M from 2,155 locations. Averaging a poor $2,093 per theater, the PG-rated film earned mixed reviews from critics.

Goldwyn’s historical slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" enjoyed a solid bow with an estimated $4.3M from only 791 sites for a respectable $5,442 average matching "Ghost Rider’s" per-theater average to the dollar. Reviews were mostly favorable.

Four films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The runaway smash "Night at the Museum" collected an estimated $2.2M in its tenth weekend and upped its total to $241.7M putting it at number 44 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which made $241.4M in 2002. "Museum" fell 41% this weekend and should go on to reach around $246M domestically and over $500M worldwide.

Universal’s Diane Keaton comedy "Because I Said So" grossed an estimated $2.9M, down 44%, putting its cume at a decent $38.4M. A final gross of $43-45M seems likely. Sony’s thriller "The Messengers" grossed an estimated $1.6M, tumbling 58%, for a $33.4M cume. The $16M production should conclude with a healthy $35M. MGM’s "Hannibal Rising" has grossed about $26M to date and should end its run with only $30M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $96.7M which was up 1% from last year when "Madea’s Family Reunion" opened at number one with $30M; but off 2% from 2005 when "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" debuted on top with $21.9M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Hollywood studios opened five new wide releases targeting different audiences and were rewarded with a record-breaking Presidents’ Day holiday weekend tally as moviegoers opened their wallets and spread their cash across a variety of films. The comic book actioner "Ghost Rider" led the way with an explosive debut while the family drama "Bridge to Terabithia" was a solid performer in the runnerup spot.

The quintet of freshman films pumped in more than $100M of new business over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long weekend as the top ten soared to the highest gross in box office history during the January-to-April span.

Nicolas Cage led the bustling box office and set a new career high in the process with "Ghost Rider" which opened at number one grossing an estimated $44.5M over three days doubling the performance of its nearest competitor. Averaging a scorching $12,296 from an ultrawide release in 3,619 locations, the Sony smash based on the popular Marvel Comics character outgunned the $35.1M bow of "National Treasure," Cage’s previous best opening. The studio reported a preliminary four-day estimate for "Ghost Rider" of $51M over the extended Friday-to-Monday holiday span.

The PG-13 film performed much like director Mark Steven Johnson‘s last film, 2003’s "Daredevil," which was also based on a Marvel Comics character and launched over the same holiday frame. That Ben Affleck vehicle bowed to $40.3M over three days and $45M over four days which at today’s ticket prices would be almost identical to the "Ghost" numbers. Cage’s new motorcycle actioner will also set a new opening weekend record for the Washington-Lincoln holiday session beating the $45.1M four-day launch of the studio’s own "50 First Dates" from 2004.

Fanboys as expected powered "Ghost Rider" to its stellar grosses. Sony research indicated that an exceptionally high 62% of the turnout was male while 55% was under the age of 25. The effects-driven pic accounted for one-third of all ticket sales within the top ten and posted the largest opening of any film over the last six months.

Finishing the weekend in second place was Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" which collected an estimated $22.1M worth of ticket stubs over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The PG-rated fantasy about two seventh graders who imagine a magical wonderland to escape to averaged a sturdy $7,032 from 3,139 theaters. Earning strong reviews from critics, "Bridge" was adapted from the popular novel and played to younger children and their parents.

Last weekend’s number one flick "Norbit" fell 51% in its second weekend which considering all the new competition was a decent hold for the Eddie Murphy comedy. The Paramount release collected an estimated $16.8M over three days and lifted its ten-day cume to a solid $58.9M. The studio also reported a preliminary four-day estimate of $20.6M which would send the 11-day cume to $62.7M. "Norbit" marked the best ten-day start for a Murphy live-action picture since 2000’s summer hit "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" which took in $76.7M by the end of its second weekend on its way to $123.3M.

Opening in fourth place with an estimated $14M was the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore romantic comedy "Music and Lyrics." The Warner Bros. release about a washed up 80s singer who falls for a plant waterer averaged a respectable $4,738 from 2,955 locations and took in $19.5M since debuting on Wednesday for Valentine’s Day. Reviews were mixed for the PG-13 film and the three-day gross was similar to the opening of Grant’s 2002 hit "Two Weeks Notice" ($14.3M) and a bit better than Barrymore’s "Fever Pitch" which bowed to $12.4M two years ago. In its second weekend in the U.K., "Music" slipped only 17% and has grossed $10.5M in that market thus far and $14.2M overall internationally.

Lionsgate followed in fifth with another date film that bowed on the love holiday, Tyler Perry‘s "Daddy’s Little Girls." The PG-13 pic grossed an estimated $12.1M from 2,111 theaters for a solid $5,732 average over three days. Since launching on Wednesday, the tale of an attorney who couples up with a single working class father has taken in $17.8M. The opening was a far cry from the debuts of the filmmaker’s recent comedy hits. Last February, "Madea’s Family Reunion" opened to $30M on its way to $63.3M while the previous year, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" opened to $21.9M before finishing with $50.4M. Both films were released by Lionsgate on the last weekend of February and starred Perry as the outrageous Madea character. "Girls" may have generated less audience interest without Perry on screen.

Older adults lined up for the FBI thriller "Breach" which debuted better than expected with an estimated $10.4M from only 1,489 sites. The PG-13 film which stars Ryan Phillippe and Chris Cooper averaged a strong $6,965 per theater and earned good reviews. According to studio research from Universal, half of the audience was over the age of 50 and 52% of the crowd was female. The studio also reported a preliminary four-day estimate of $12.1M and $8,155 average.

"Hannibal Rising" sank to seventh place in its second weekend tumbling 58% to an estimated $5.5M. With $22.2M in ten days, look for the MGM release to reach about $30M. Universal’s comedy "Because I Said So" followed with an estimated $5M, off 46%, for a $33.2M cume.

Sony’s former number one "The Messengers" dropped 47% and scared up an estimated $3.8M giving the thriller a total of $30.5M. Fox’s Ben Stiller action-comedy "Night at the Museum" grossed an estimated $3.7M, down 36%, and lifted its tally to $237.3M becoming the first film to spend nine straight weekends in the top ten since last winter’s "The Chronicles of Narnia." "Night" also climbed up to number 46 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters sandwiching itself between a pair of action-comedy hits from 1984 – "Ghostbusters" ($238.6M) and "Beverly Hills Cop" ($234.8M). Of course, ticket prices were much lower two decades ago so "Night" has sold fewer tickets.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $137.8M over three days which was up a stunning 30% from last year when "Eight Below" opened at number one with $20.2M; and up a healthy 26% from 2005 when "Hitch" remained on top with $31.4M in its sophomore session.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Five new films, each targeting its own audience, cram into North American multiplexes giving moviegoers plenty of entertainment options over the four-day Presidents’ Day holiday weekend.

Segregating the races on Wednesday’s Valentine’s Day holiday with competing romantic comedies, Warner Bros. bowed the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore starrer "Music and Lyrics" for white audiences while Lionsgate countered with Tyler Perry‘s "Daddy’s Little Girls" for black moviegoers. Adding to the overcrowded frame on Friday will be Sony’s comic book actioner "Ghost Rider," Disney’s tween adventure "The Bridge to Terabithia," and the FBI thriller "Breach" from Universal. Although studios jammed too many films into this particular frame, audience overlap seems minimal so the box office should easily expand to its largest size of the year finally beating 2006 levels.

Johnny Blaze leads the way over the extended weekend as Nicolas Cage steps into the role of the Marvel Comics character in the big-budget actioner "Ghost Rider." The PG-13 film is directed by Mark Steven Johnson whose "Daredevil," another effects-driven action flick based on a B-level Marvel hero, topped the box office over the Presidents’ Day frame four years ago with a powerful $45M with Ben Affleck in the lead. Much of the same audience of young males and comic fans will be back, however moviegoers have since been subjected to endless super hero flicks so don’t be surprised if some take a pass this time. Sony has been loud in its marketing campaign and awareness is sky high with the target audience. A crowded marketplace could keep the grosses in check. But with the most theaters of any new release by far, the motorcycle pic should ride off with the box office crown with ease. "Ghost Rider" opens in 3,619 theaters on Friday and could collect around $35M over the four-day span.


Nicolas Cage in "Ghost Rider"

Disney goes after the always reliable family audience with the fantasy drama "The Bridge to Terabithia," a film adaptation of the beloved book. In the PG-rated tale, a seventh grade boy befriends the new girl who moves in next door and together create a fantasy world through their imaginations as an escape from the struggles of real life. Kidpics based on books usually find themselves with a built-in audience showing up on opening weekend and with "Terabithia" launching over a school holiday session, the target audience will be very available. Last year, the studio won the weekend going after a similar crowd with "Eight Below" which opened to a solid $25M over four days. "Bridge" lacks big star names, but should still pull in families especially since that segment has few other titles in the current marketplace to be excited about. Younger teens may however get pulled away by the crude physical comedy of "Norbit" or the comic book action of "Ghost Rider." Launching in over 2,800 theaters, "The Bridge to Terabithia" may gross around $18M over the Friday-to-Monday period.


"The Bridge to Terabithia"

Following up his number one hits "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea’s Family Reunion," Tyler Perry returns to the big screen with his latest comedy, "Daddy’s Little Girls." The PG-13 film stars Gabrielle Union as an attorney who falls for a working class driver who has three daughters. Unlike his last two February chart-toppers, "Girls" finds Perry strictly behind the camera and not playing the outrageous matriarch Madea.

In recent years, nobody has proven the power of the African American audience more than Perry who exceeded industry expectations both times with the $21.9M bow of "Diary" and the stronger $30M debut of "Reunion" a year ago. Both debuted on the weekend after the Presidents’ Day frame. Lionsgate once again handles distribution duties, but various factors indicate that sales should deflate a bit. Starpower is less for "Girls," most notably because of Perry’s absence. Plus competition will be much tougher than in past years with "Norbit" in its second weekend playing to much of the same audience. However, the Tyler name sells and sell-outs are sure to occur in all parts of the country. Opening Wednesday in 2,111 theaters, "Daddy’s Little Girls" could take in about $16M over four days and $23M over six days.


Tyler Perry’s "Daddy’s Little Girls"

Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore find love in the new romantic comedy "Music and Lyrics" which also opened on Wednesday to capture the date crowd on Valentine’s Day. On paper, the PG-13 film has all the ingredients to become a box office hit thanks to the starpower and timing of its release. But a poor script and lack of chemistry could impact weekend grosses if mid-week ticket buyers spread bad word of mouth. Both actors are proven draws at the turnstiles and their first pairing will undoubtedly spark interest from women and couples. Warner Bros. has been pushing the 80’s music angle since Grant plays the washed up half of a pop music superduo from that era. Competition for white women over 25 is not too fierce among the weekend’s other contenders so a strong start is likely. Composing tunes in 2,929 locations, "Music and Lyrics" may find itself with around $16M over four days and about $22M over six days.


Hugh Grant, in a sadly realistic portrayal of an 80s popstar, in "Music and Lyrics."

Ryan Phillippe stars as a young FBI agent out to catch his boss who has been selling secrets to the Soviet Union in the new political thriller "Breach." The PG-13 pic co-stars Chris Cooper, Laura Linney, and Dennis Haysbert and is being released by Universal. Three factors will prevent big grosses for Reese’s ex-hubby. "Breach" lacks starpower, has too much competition to face, and is not being booked in too many theaters. Though the cast features some respected actors, none is a box office anchor that can draw in large paying crowds. Plus with four other new films hitting the multiplexes, and a collection of acclaimed Oscar contenders all attracting the attention of serious-minded adults, "Breach" cannot stand out. Academy pics may all be grossing small numbers individually, but moviegoers spent nearly $20M on the ones in the Top 20 last weekend and this long holiday frame will be the last full weekend to catch up on the contenders. Opening in just 1,487 theaters, "Breach" might steal about $7M over the four days.


"Breach," with Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, and some blurry guy.

Among holdovers, Oscar nominee Eddie Murphy may get driven out of the top spot by Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage. Both of their new films, of course, are for commercial gain and not critical acclaim. "Norbit" will be coming off of a solid opening, but will face competition from many of the new releases. The four-day gross could slide 30% from last weekend’s three-day opening and reach roughly $24M for the frame. That would give the Paramount release a terrific $64M in 11 days. A larger drop is in the works for "Hannibal Rising." The MGM release may fall 40% to about $8M for a cume of $23M after a similar 11 days.

LAST YEAR: The battle for Presidents’ Day weekend was won by the family adventure "Eight Below" which debuted on top with $25M over the four-day frame. Disney’s hit kids flick went on to collect $81.6M. Fox settled for second with its spoof comedy "Date Movie" which bowed to $21.8M over the Friday-to-Monday period on its way to $48.5M. "The Pink Panther" dropped from first to third with $20.9M followed by fellow kidpic "Curious George" with $15.4M. Rounding out the top five was "Final Destination 3" with $11.5M. Samuel L. Jackson flopped with his new drama "Freedomland" which debuted to just $6.7M over four days leading to a weak $12.5M final for Sony.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got skulls ("Ghost Rider," starring Nicolas Cage), songwriters ("Music and Lyrics," starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore) secret worlds ("Bridge to Terabithia"), single parents ("Daddy’s Little Girls," starring Tyler Perry and Gabrielle Union), and spies ("Breach," starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe). What do the critics have to say?

In the world of popular music, there are a number of great songwriting duo: Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. In "Music and Lyrics," Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore team up to write a tune, and critics say the movie is as disposable — and sweet — as your average summer hit. Grant plays a washed-up pop star commissioned to write a tune for a pop starlet; he discovers that Barrymore, who waters his plants, has a way with words, and the two make beautiful music together. The pundits say the film is as predictable as they come, but its stars elevate the material beyond the usual rom-com fare. At 66 percent on the Tomatometer, "Music and Lyrics" has a good beat, and you can dance to it.


Opening for Speed Metal! in Seattle, WA.

Ah, the pre-teen years. Such an angst-ridden period in one’s life. "Bridge to Terabithia," the story of two 10-year-olds who retreat into a fantasy land to escape the sadness in their lives, is a movie that understands what it’s like to be a kid, and for that, critics say it’s family entertainment of a very high order. "Terabithia" is a coming-of-age tale about friendship that doesn’t skimp on tragedy, but doesn’t lack for uplift, either. And it features engaging performances from its young stars, Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, "Terabithia" may be a worth a trip.


"Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!!"

Madea may be gone, but Tyler Perry’s back with "Daddy’s Little Girls," his second film as a director, and the first in which he doesn’t play his no-nonsense, straight-talking alter ego. This time, he’s a single dad locked in a custody battle with his wife for their three daughters; he enlists a beautiful attorney (Gabrielle Union) to help, and romance blossoms. The pundits say Perry’s filmmaking skills have improved with this effort, but the film is ultimately too predictable and preachy to work. It currently stands at 22 percent on the Tomatometer.


"And I think American Idol should be on five times a week!"

Director Billy Ray is carving out an interesting niche spinning tales of frauds in high places. His first film, "Shattered Glass," told the story of the journalist/fabulist Stephen Glass; now comes "Breach," based upon the career of imprisoned FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen. Ryan Phillippe stars as a young agent assigned to check up on Hanssen (Chris Cooper), who his superiors believe may be leaking information to the Soviets. Critics say "Breach," despite a lack of explosive action scenes, is a first-rate mind-game thriller that authentically captures the culture within the agency. "Breach" is currently at 88 percent on the Tomatometer.


Chris Cooper practices a Bob Dole impression.

"Ghost Rider," the comic book adaptation starring Nicolas Cage as a stunt motorcyclist who finds his cranium ablaze after a Faustian bargain, was not screened for critics in time to make this week’s Critical Consensus. So get off your Harley and Guess that Tomatometer.


"Have you got any ibuprofen? I have a burning headache."

Also opening this week in limited release: "Avenue Montaigne," a comedy a about a young woman’s introduction to Paris and France’s official selection for Academy consideration, is at 82 percent; "Bamako," the tale of a troubled small town in Mali starring Danny Glover, is at 80 percent; and "Close to Home," a tale of young women in the Israeli army, is at 40 percent.


Parisians: never too cool for a staring contest.

Recent Nicolas Cage Movies:
————————————
63% — The Ant Bully (2006)
71% — World Trade Center (2006)
14% — The Wicker Man (2006)
61% — Lord of War (2005)
60% — The Weather Man (2005)

Recent Drew Barrymore Movies:
—————————————
71% — Curious George (2006)
64% — Fever Pitch (2005)
68% — My Date With Drew (2005)
42% — 50 First Dates (2004)
90% — Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut (2004)

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