Jigsaw is back in theaters this Friday, bringing back memories of the bygone era between 2004 and 2010 (the release years of the first and last Saw movies) when every horror movie released seemed to fall under the guise of ‘torture porn.’ They involved inflicting the most amount of pain in the slowest way possible, where dark fates could lead to death, or something worse: living on, literally broken in body and mind. Relive the pain with 24 best and worst (mostly worst) torture porn movies pieced and sorted by Tomatometer!

Marcus Nispel, director of the upcoming Friday the 13th remake, has found his Jason.

According to Ain’t It Cool News and Bloody-Disgusting, the man behind the hockey mask in the new Friday will be none other than Derek Mears. A glimpse of Mears in The Hills Have Eyes 2 offers proof of his qualifications for the role:

AICN‘s Moriarty, who worked with Mears on an episode of Masters of Horror, refers to him as “dead right for the part,” saying he’s “one of us… a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE geek who really loves the monsters he plays.”

The remake, written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, is scheduled for a February 13, 2009 release. Mears will join a cast that already includes Jared Padalecki.

Source: Ain’t It Cool News
Source: Bloody-Disgusting

March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.

Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.

Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.


Rick Fox and Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns

Owen Wilson takes up the title role of Paramount’s new high school comedy Drillbit Taylor playing a homeless soldier of fortune who takes an assignment to protect a trio of teenage nerds. The actor’s biggest commercial hits have come from pairings with other big-name actors like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Here he flies solo as the only star and historically that that has led to small grosses. Younger teens will make up the primary crowd so the PG-13 rating may give pause to parents of kids in the high single digits. A slight male skew is also likely. There’s ample competition so a large debut is not likely, plus Wilson’s main draw comes with adults not twelve-year-olds. The Friday holiday will get things started well, but word-of-mouth will have to take it the rest of the way. Reviews have not been too bright and March Madness will take many boys out of the picture this weekend. Debuting in about 2,700 theaters, Drillbit Taylor could punch up about $12M this weekend.


Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor

Another spooky Asian fright film gets the photocopy treatment by the idea-starved American horror industry in Fox’s Shutter. The PG-13 chiller stars Joshua Jackson as a photographer who discovers creepy images of a dead woman in his snapshots. The insatiable horror audience is the target here and the rating will make sure that younger teens up for a scare will be able to buy a ticket. Jackson is far removed from his Dawson’s Creek days and lacks the drawing power he once had. Plus the studio’s marketing push has not been very forceful so awareness is low. Don’t look for this one to open like The Eye or One Missed Call which both bowed in the $12-13M range. The only factors working for it are the 85 minute running time and the fact that there have been no horror films released since the Jessica Alba‘s thriller from the first weekend of February. Snapping into around 2,700 locations, Shutter could gross about $8M this weekend.


Shutter

Fox has no intentions of giving up its hold on the number one spot. The studio’s Seuss hit Horton Hears A Who looks unlikely to be defeated by the newcomers and should take advantage of the Good Friday school holiday to post a better-than-usual sophomore hold. Ice Age dropped by 35% in its second frame in 2002 while its Fox sibling Robots fell by 42% in 2005. Both were March openers but neither had the Easter holiday helping the sophomore session. The well-liked Horton might drop by 30% to about $31M and boost its ten-day total to a robust $91M.

10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.

LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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

The stars come marching out to do battle with the pirates for the number one spot this weekend.

For the sixth consecutive weekend, a threequel is poised to command the top spot at the North American box office as Warner Bros. rolls out the caper pic "Ocean’s Thirteen" reuniting Hollywood’s fun boys. Sony counters with the family offering "Surf’s Up" while Lionsgate goes after the horror crowd with "Hostel Part II." Each film should target its own audience so there should be space for all newcomers.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and their endless list of co-stars are back again as everyone’s favorite criminals in "Ocean’s Thirteen." The PG-13 pic finds the group back in Las Vegas on a heist driven by revenge against a real estate mogul, played by Al Pacino, who is launching his latest luxury hotel/casino. The first two in the series had December openings of $38.1M for 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven" and $39.2M for 2004’s "Ocean’s Twelve." They also had little direct competition for adults. Although they opened in the same fashion, the sequel was not as well-liked and found its way to $125.5M, or about one-third less than the $183.4M cume of the original which itself was a remake.

"Thirteen" should play to the exact same audience of mature adults. Appeal is equally strong for males and females and even some teen interest should be there. Reviews have been generally positive but that should have little impact. Moviegoers know exactly what they are getting the third time around and will decide based on if they want to take another two-hour trip seeing slick actors, with slick hair, and slick clothes, acting cool. Those soured by "Twelve" may take a pass on "Thirteen." Plus "Pirates" and "Knocked Up" will provide some solid competition. But the sheer amount of starpower should make this entry hard to resist to many looking for a fun mature film without pirates, super heroes, and endless special effects. "Ocean’s Thirteen" rolls the dice in 3,565 locations this weekend and might win about $37M over three days.


Nerds!

For those kids who can’t get enough of talking cartoon penguins, Sony unleashes its big summer animation entry "Surf’s Up." Delivered in a mockumentary style, the PG-rated film tells the story of penguins that compete in a surfing competition, and of course crack jokes along the way. Arriving just three weeks after "Shrek the Third," "Surf’s Up" will have to deal with competition from the ogre toon and to some extent the other aging threequels which combined should gross north of $40M this weekend. The new penguin pic does not have the buzz or the starpower of a Robin Williams that helped "Happy Feet" shoot to number one last November with a $41.5M bow on its way to a terrific $198M.

Instead, "Surf’s Up" seems to be in the same middle category with recent films like "Open Season" and "Meet the Robinsons" which opened to $23.6M and $25.1M, respectively. With children in the process of ending their school years and starting their summer vacations, parents should be in the mood to take them to the movies for some non-violent fun. "Surf’s Up" lands in over 3,000 theaters on Friday and could debut with about $24M.


"Surf’s Up," aka "March of the Happy Feet."

Yet another horror sequel makes its way into theaters with Lionsgate’s "Hostel Part II." The first "Hostel" was a number one hit last year opening to $19.6M on its way to an impressive $47.3M off of a tiny budget. The new R-rated entry finds three American students in Rome who find themselves caught in a grisly game of torture and mayhem. Horror fans have been suffering from fright fatigue lately. The recent sequels "The Hills Have Eyes II" and "28 Weeks Later" both opened to just under $10M failing to match the bows of their predecessors. Other horror flicks like "Bug," "The Condemned," "The Reaping," and "Vacancy" all underperformed over the last several weeks and have helped to scare fans away from the genre.

But Lionsgate is among the best at selling this type of fare to older teens and young adults and the distributor is hoping to tap into a built-in audience. Just as with the first one, Quentin Tarantino whores his name out again with a ‘presents’ credit on the marketing materials. It would be interesting to know what kind of compensation, monetary or otherwise, he gets for these transactions. Locking up ticket buyers in 2,350 theaters, "Hostel Part II" may open with around $12M.


"Hostel: Part II," sure to warm the hearts of all.

Following its two frames at number one, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should give up the top spot this weekend, although the runnerup slot is not necessarily a guarantee. The pricey Disney adventure fell by 62% last weekend and could see its drop dip to 50% this time. That would give Johnny Depp and his buddies about $22M for the session and $254M overall.

Last weekend’s number two flick "Knocked Up" raced past "At World’s End" to claim the number one spot on Monday and Tuesday thanks to great buzz and is prepared to see a solid hold this time around. Two summers ago, the R-rated comedies "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" both dipped by only 24% in their sophomore frames thanks to stellar word-of-mouth and no major competition from new releases. "Knocked Up" has the same great satisfaction from moviegoers, but will see much of its adult audience get tempted away by Brad and company. A 30% drop would still give it a great hold with about $21M for the frame. That would push the cume to a stunning $68M in only ten days.

"Shrek the Third" will face direct competition from rival toon "Surf’s Up" this weekend. That could lead to a 40% decline to roughly $17M boosting the cume to $282M.

LAST YEAR: Disney and Pixar joined forces for the number one opening of "Cars" which cruised into the top spot with $60.1M. The animated comedy raced to $244.1M domestically becoming the summer’s biggest non-Captain Jack flick, and over $462M worldwide. Universal’s comedy "The Break-Up" fell 48% in its second date grossing $20.3M and was followed by "X-Men: The Last Stand" with $16.1M. The horror remake "The Omen" bowed to $16M over the weekend and a creepy $36.3M over six days since its Tuesday launch on 6/6/06. Fox scared up $54.6M eventually. "The Da Vinci Code" rounded out the top five with $10.4M in its fourth lap. Debuting to solid results in a moderate launch was "A Prairie Home Companion" with $4.6M from 760 locations for a $6,008 average. The Picturehouse release found its way to $20.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Easter weekend sees four new wide releases hopping into the marketplace aiming to give the spring box office a boost.

Action audiences get The Weinstein Company’s two-for-the-price-of-one special "Grindhouse" while horror fans go for a scare with the religious-themed fright flick "The Reaping" starring Hilary Swank which opens on Thursday. Wednesday saw two competing family films bow – the Ice Cube sequel "Are We Done Yet?" and the pooch pic "Firehouse Dog." With Good Friday being a holiday for many, three-day numbers should reach healthy levels.

Moviegoers with three hours to kill and a love of death and destruction will line up for "Grindhouse," a double feature with separate films directed by indie heroes Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The R-rated pic includes the former’s road actioner "Death Proof" starring Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson and Rose McGowan while the latter’s zombie flick "Planet Terror" stars McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez. Clearly the primary business will come from the young male fan base that Tarantino and Rodriguez hold dearly. Since there is so much overlap here, the grosses may not grow beyond what they’ve seen with previous hits.

"Grindhouse" has had some flashy marketing which is successfully generating interest. Plus there is starpower behind the cameras. Add in the two-for-one novelty item and the press tour that the cast and directors are on and it’s clear to see that a strong opening weekend will result. Debuts for similar ultraviolent R-rated films from the helmers include $22.1M for 2003’s "Kill Bill Vol. 1," $25.1M for the folowing year’s "Kill Bill Vol. 2," and $29.1M for 2005’s "Sin City." But cutting into "Grindhouse"’s potential will be its length which will force each screen to offer one less showtime per day compared to conventional two-hour films. Reviews have been very positive so the pic may reach a little beyond its core crowd of fan boys. Entering 2,624 theaters on Friday, "Grindhouse" could deliver an opening weekend gross of around $25M.


"Grindhouse"

Following in the footsteps of Jim Carrey and Sandra Bullock from earlier this year, Hilary Swank gives it a go in the world of horror with the new religious-themed chiller "The Reaping." The R-rated film finds the two-time Oscar winner playing a scientist called in to investigate mysterious occurances in a small Louisiana town where locals believe Biblical devastation is on its way. Horror flicks with religious storylines usually connect with audiences and with "The Reaping" timed for an Easter weekend launch, a sizable four-day start is likely. The thriller should skew a bit more female given the protagonist while age-wise, the appeal seems broader than just older teens and young adults.

With the Thursday debut, Warner Bros. is looking to take advantage of the Good Friday holiday which will make Thursday night at the multiplexes seem like a Friday night. A Wednesday bow, which is common for this particular weekend, would have been more risky as bad word-of-mouth from opening day ticket buyers who return to work or school on Thursday would dampen weekend sales. Reviews have not been too pleasant, but the studio deserves credit for actually holding press screenings which nowadays is rare for a horror film. With "Premonition" and "The Hills Have Eyes 2" both fading away into the low single-digit millions this weekend, "The Reaping" is ready to cater to those in the market for a good scare. Warner Bros. attacks 2,501 theaters on Thursday and increases the run to 2,603 on Friday and could register an opening weekend of roughly $14M and $17M over four days.


Hilary Swank in "The Reaping."

Rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube conquered the kiddie movie box office two years ago with the surprise hit "Are We There Yet?" which grossed $82.3M becoming the star’s biggest career hit. For the sequel "Are We Done Yet?," Sony has replaced the road comedy element with a story about a family facing all kinds of obstacles fixing up their new house. There debuted to a solid $18.6M in January 2005 against almost no competition for family audiences. "Done" feels like the same dish served up again and has not really excited its target audience. Plus there is much more competition for it to deal with in the marketplace, notably Disney’s "Meet the Robinsons" which offers fresh new entertainment. Cube probably won’t see the same success the second time around but at least the grosses won’t tumble 82% the way they did when he took control of the "XXX" sequel. Now playing in 2,877 theaters, "Are We Done Yet?" could collect about $13M over three days and $16M over five days.


Ice Cube in "Are We Done Yet?"

Families not in the mood for some fun with Ice Cube get to try out the boy-and-his-dog drama "Firehouse Dog" from Fox. The PG-rated pic about a celebrity hound that gets lost and later rescued by a firefighting team lacks the starpower and marketing muscle needed to deliver a strong opening. Between "Are We Done Yet?," "Meet the Robinsons," and even "TMNT," kids have enough choices this Easter weekend and will probably wait for "Firehouse Dog" on DVD. Bowing in 2,566 sites, the family film could open with about $7M over three days and $9M over five days.


"Firehouse Dog"

Among holdovers, the Will Ferrell comedy "Blades of Glory" looks to lose its spot at the top of the box office, but should still deliver a solid sophomore spin. The comedian’s summer hits "Talladega Nights" and "Anchorman" both dropped by more than 50% in their second weekends. "Blades" has the Good Friday holiday to help soften the blow a bit. A 45% decline would give Paramount about $18M for the frame and a solid $61M after ten days.

Disney’s "Meet the Robinsons" also got off to a strong start last weekend, but will face stiff competition for families from both "Are We Done Yet?" and "Firehouse Dog." The 3D toon could slide 35% to around $16M for a ten-day cume of nearly $50M. The ultraviolent war film "300" may fall by 45% to $6M and lift its impressive haul to $190M. The worldwide tally should blast past $350M this weekend.

LAST YEAR: Still ranking number one with ease was the animated smash "Ice Age: The Meltdown" with $33.8M despite losing half of its opening weekend sales. Debuting in second was the Rob Schneider sports comedy "The Benchwarmers" with $19.7M on its way to $57.7M for Sony. New Line’s dance pic "Take the Lead" opened in third with $12.1M before finishing off with $34.7M. The Denzel WashingtonJodie Foster actioner "Inside Man" followed with $9.1M in its third heist. Rounding out the top five was another action thriller "Lucky Number Slevin" with a $7M bow on its way to $22.5M for The Weinstein Co. The Fox Searchlight comedy "Phat Girlz" flopped in ninth with just $3.1M before getting yanked with only $7.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Will Ferrell scored the gold medal at the North American box office with his latest comedy "Blades of Glory" which skated to a top spot bow. Disney settled for a silver for its new animated kids offering "Meet the Robinsons" which debuted impressively as well.

Each film had room to connect with its target audience without eating into the other’s business. Holdovers saw mixed results with some seeing moderate declines while others tumbled.

Grossing an estimated $33M in its first weekend, the Paramount release "Blades of Glory" easily led the frame during the final weekend of a robust March box office. The PG-13 film averaged a stellar $9,786 from 3,372 locations. Studio research indicated that the audience was split evenly between males and females and that 74% of the crowd was under 35. Blades was produced for just over $60M and was the fifth film of the first quarter to open above $30M – a new industry record.

Opening in second with a strong showing of its own was "Meet the Robinsons" with an estimated $25.1M from 3,413 locations for a $7,341 average. The CG toon was Disney’s third consecutive bow north of $20M following "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Wild Hogs." Robinsons carries a G rating and played to a family audience.

After leading the charts last weekend with the top two films, Warner Bros dropped to third and fourth, respectively. with "300" and "TMNT." The Spartan epic dropped 44% to an estimated $11.2M and pushed its remarkable cume to $179.7M. The Ninja Turtles pic saw a direct hit from rival toon "Meet the Robinsons" and tumbled 62% to an estimated $9.2M giving the crime fighters $38.4M in ten days.

The motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs" followed in fifth with an estimated $8.4M, off 39%, for a total of $135.4M for Buena Vista. Paramount’s Mark Wahlberg actioner "Shooter" dropped 45% to an estimated $8M giving the sniper flick $27.2M after ten days. Sandra Bullock‘s suspense flick "Premonition" scared up an estimated $5.1M, down 47%, putting Sony’s cume at $39.3M.

Three sophomores rounded out the top ten and lifted their mediocre cumes into the teens. The New Line sci-fi film "The Last Mimzy" crumbled 60% to an estimated $4M for a sum of $16.2M. Taking in an estimated $3.9M was the horror sequel "The Hills Have Eyes 2" which fell 60% as well and has grossed $15.8M to date. Adam Sandler‘s latest money-losing stab at drama "Reign Over Me" collected an estimated $3.7M, down 50%, for a $13.3M total.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $111.5M which was down 12% from last year when "Ice Age: The Meltdown" opened at number one with $68M; but up 19% from 2005 when "Sin City" debuted on top with $29.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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

This week at the movies we’ve got turtle power ("TMNT"), whimsy ("The Last Mimzy," starring Timothy Hutton), conspiracies ("Shooter," starring Mark Wahlberg), buddies ("Reign Over Me," starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle), swimmers ("Pride," starring Terrence Howard), and cannibals ("The Hills Have Eyes 2"). What do the critics have to say?

"TMNT" marks a CG return for the pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling 1980s icons. However, to paraphrase the theme song, it appears movie critics are unwilling to cut "TMNT" any slack. The film details the turtles’ attempt to defeat an army of ancient warriors and the Foot Clan, despite dissention in the ranks. Critics say the CG animation looks fine, but the story is lacking, and "TMNT" lacks the goofy charm of its lower-fidelity predecessors. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, this one appears to be a bit short on turtle power.


"20 percent Tomatometer? Oh…shellshock…!"

Based upon a short story by Lewis Padgett, "The Last Mimzy" tells the fanciful tale of two siblings who, after discovering a box of discarded toys, gain special powers, get involved with time travel, win a science contest, and run afoul with the Patriot Act. If this sounds ambitious for a kids flick, critics agree. In fact, they’re saying it’s too ambitious: despite excellent moments, "Mimzy" lacks focus and frequently veers towards awkward, New Age feelgoodness. It’s at 52 percent Tomatometer.


"Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will."

Leaving the extravagance of "King Arthur" and "Tears of the Sun" behind, director Antoine Fuqua tones it down for "Shooter," a simpler kind of action flick. One man, one gun, one word for the title. Mark Wahlberg stars as former Army sniper Bob Lee Swagger (a movie moniker if there ever was one) who finds himself on the run and in the midst of a government conspiracy. The scribes say Wahlberg does a decent job, but the film skimps on logic and contains more plot holes than a target down at your local gun club. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, "Shooter" misses the mark.


"I have a coupon for this I got from the penny saver."

In "Reign Over Me," Adam Sandler, looking like "Blonde on Blonde"-era Bob Dylan, stars as a man still reeling from the loss of his family in the 9/11 attacks. He drops in on his college roommate (Don Cheadle), who’s got family issues of his own. Critics say "Reign Over Me" provides proof, were it needed after "Punch Drunk Love," that Adam Sandler is capable of playing serious roles, and helmer Mike Binder manages to keep the film funny and touching without overdosing on sentiment. At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, "Reign" shines.


"Everybody’s gone but me and you, and I can’t be the last to leave."

Terrence Howard is a terrific actor, but critics say he can’t save "Pride," a by-the-numbers sports flick based on an interesting true story. Howard stars as Jim Ellis, the coach of an all-African American high school swim team; the squad faces a number of obstacles, from racism to unsympathetic city officials. The pundits say Howard gives another outstanding performance, but "Pride" sinks under the weight of cliché. It currently stands at 38 percent on the Tomatometer.


"If you want respect, you’ve got to ask nicely and say please."

The peepers of critics have yet to grace "The Hills Have Eyes 2," since it wasn’t screened. This sequel to a remake tells the tale of a group of National Guardsmen who stumble upon a group of cannibals in the New Mexico desert. Finish up that tasty meal you’re eating and Guess the Tomatometer.


"You know, a little lotion would help those dry hands."

Also opening this week in limited release: "Air Guitar Nation," a spirited rockumentary about the art of the air strum, is at 100 percent; "Offside," Iranian master Jafar Panahi’s examination of politics through the lens of soccer, is at 95 percent; "The Page Turner," a Hitchcockian tale of revenge and music from France, is at 88 percent; "Boy Culture," featuring the trials and tribulations of three gay roommates, is at 86 percent; "Journey From the Fall," a drama about a family’s struggles at the end of the Vietnam’s civil war, is at 67 percent; "Colour Me Kubrick," a comedy about a man impersonating the director starring John Malkovich, is at 58 percent; and the noirish "First Snow," starring Guy Pearce and Piper Perabo, is at 50 percent; and "Memory," a sci-fi thriller starring Ann-Margaret and Dennis Hopper, is at 20 percent.


"Don’t move. You have a bee on your head."

And finally, props to SlyDante for coming the closest to guessing "Dead Silence"’s 24 percent Tomatometer.

Recent Mark Wahlberg Movies:
————————————-
93% — The Departed (2006)
70% — Invincible (2006)
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
61% — I Heart Huckabees (2004)
73% — The Italian Job (2003)

Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
————————————-
32% — Click (2006)
30% — The Longest Yard (2005)
52% — Spanglish (2004)
43% — 50 First Dates (2004)
42% — Anger Management (2003)

You "Spider" geeks will want to keep an eye on the Comcast website this Friday, because that’s when they’ll be showing off their exclusive "Spider-Man 3" trailer. And there’s also a little news on where you gorehounds can expect to see the first trailer for "28 Weeks Later."

That’s pretty much the long and the short of it: New "Spider-Man 3" trailer at this link on Friday, March 23rd. I’ll be there.

And regarding the trailer for the sequel to "28 Days Later" — it’ll be attached to the "Hills Have Eyes 2" prints that are posed to hit multiplexes this Friday. (They’re both Fox Atomic releases, after all.)

"SM3" opens May 4th. "28WL" hits on May 11th.

Sources: Comcast, ComingSoon.net

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