Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.

Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.

For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.

With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.

The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell CroweRenee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.

Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.


"Yay, pregnancy."

Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.

"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.


Where Dane Cook gets his career advice.

Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.


The mullet-headed heckler is always an important training component.

Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.


"Day Watch"

None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.

"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.

"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.

LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Ashton Kutcher fans get two chances to see (or hear) their favorite star this weekend as the Hollywood prankster takes on reigning box office champ "Jackass: Number Two" by voicing a mule deer in the animated comedy "Open Season" and going up against Kevin Costner in the action drama "The Guardian."

Also opening nationally is the Billy Bob ThorntonJon Heder comedy "School For Scoundrels" while some potential Oscar contenders debut in the arthouses.

Hollywood’s umpteenth computer-animated feature film of the year hits multiplexes on Friday in the form of "Open Season." The PG-rated pic features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Kutcher and finds a domesticated grizzly bear being dropped into the wilderness right before the start of hunting season. Young kids usually eat up these fish-out-of-water comedy toons and this Sony release should play to the same family audience. The target demographic has had an endless line of movies this year featuring talking animals getting into wacky situations, but since the current marketplace is lacking any major offering for children, "Open Season" should score as the first animated hit of the new school year. The studio is saturating the market with screens giving the film the fourth widest bow ever for a non-DreamWorks toon, and the second widest in Sony history for any film after 2004’s webslinger sequel. With no competition and solid funnyman starpower behind the mics, a strong number one bow could result. "Open Season" makes its way into 3,833 theaters and may debut with around $24M this weekend.


Ashton Kutcher, in his other film, "Open Season."

For those who would rather see the "Punk’d" star’s face, Buena Vista sets sail with its Coast Guard thriller "The Guardian" which finds Kutcher playing a young and cocky swimming champ who butts heads with his unorthodox teacher played by Kevin Costner. Directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive," "Collateral Damage"), the PG-13 film has broad appeal with each star pulling in his respective generation. Cross-gender appeal is also present with the military-like storyline doing the job for males and the hunky actors attracting the ladies. Disney offered successful sneak previews two weeks ago to get some word-of-mouth spreading before the official debut. The studio will try to lure in the same audience that spent a solid $22.1M on the John TravoltaJoaquin Phoenix firefighter drama "Ladder 49" two autumns ago. Launching in over 3,000 theaters, "The Guardian" might debut with about $18M.


Kevin Costner to the rescue in "The Guardian."

Following his commercial success with the male-driven comedy hits "Road Trip," "Old School," and "Starsky & Hutch," Todd Phillips returns to theaters with "School for Scoundrels" which finds Billy Bob Thornton squaring off against "Napoleon Dynamite"’s Jon Heder for the affection of a young gal. MGM’s PG-13 film about an awkward young misfit who enlists the help of an expert on getting the ladies should aim for an audience of teens and young adults, plus fans of the "Bad Santa" star’s rogue ways. Starpower is not very high here. Films anchored by the former Mr. Jolie usually don’t explode on opening weekend as evidenced by the recent debuts of "The Bad News Bears" ($11.4M), "The Ice Harvest" ($3.7M), and "The Alamo" ($9.1M). Competition for young males will be tough, but if "School" can connect with teen girls as a funny romantic comedy, then it has a chance of doing some respectable numbers. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "School for Scoundrels" might debut with about $12M.


Thornton, Heder, and that Real World chick again in "School For Scoundrels."

Some high profile indies pop into limited release this weekend. Fox Searchlight launched its Idi Amin pic "The Last King of Scotland" in four theaters on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles and has already been receiving early Oscar buzz for Forest Whitaker‘s portrayal of the Ugandan dictator. Coincidentally, a year ago this same weekend, "Capote" debuted and fueled its own Best Actor buzz which sustained itself throughout awards season leading to a trophy for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reviews for "Scotland" have been good and for Whitaker, have been electric.


Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland."

Miramax gets its Oscar campaign going, but for the Best Actress prize, with its Helen Mirren film "The Queen" which opens in New York City on Saturday after it officially opens the New York Film Festival on Friday evening. Mirren has already taken home the top actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the dark days after the death of Princess Diana. The PG-13 film is directed by Stephen Frears ("Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Dangerous Liaisons") and has ranked number two at the U.K. box office for the last two weeks.

First Look Studios takes audiences back to Queens in 1986 with its coming-of-age drama "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson. The R-rated film won awards for Best Director and Best Ensemble at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and bows in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.

Last weekend, "Jackass: Number Two" flexed its muscles at the box office with a better-than-expected $29M launch. The Paramount film’s predecessor dropped 44% in its second weekend in the fall of 2002, but the sequel may drop harder. A 50% decline would still give the Johnny Knoxville flick about $15M for the weekend and a strong ten-day cume of $51M.

Jet Li‘s "Fearless" also drew upon a built-in audience of young men last weekend setting itself up for a sizable sophomore drop. The Focus title might also lose half of its business and take in roughly $5M. That would give the martial arts saga $18M after ten days. Sony’s "Gridiron Gang" held up well last weekend despite tough competition. Another 35% fall could be in order giving The Rock a $6M frame and a $34M total after 17 days.

LAST YEAR: For the second straight weekend, Jodie Foster‘s airline thriller "Flightplan" topped the box office with $14.8M dropping only 40% from its bow. Opening in second place was the sci-fi actioner "Serenity" which grossed $10.1M on its way to $25.4M for Universal. Warner Bros. followed close behind with $10M for its animated comedy "Corpse Bride." The revenge thriller "A History of Violence" expanded nationally and placed fourth with $8.1M and a solid $6,047 average which was the best in the whole Top 20. Opening in fifth was the Jessica-Alba-in-a-bikini pic "Into the Blue" with only $7.1M leading to a weak $18.5M final for Sony. Disney debuted its historical golf drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to the tune of $3.7M. A $15.3M final gross resulted.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A newly divorced Brad Pitt seemed to confirm his rumored romance with Angelina Jolie as the pair took in a dinosaur exhibit last weekend, with Jolie’s son Maddox in tow. As reported by the Calgary Sun, the Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-stars arrived at the Royal Tyrrell Museum for a quiet evening, appearing every bit the family unit. After staying for an hour largely undisturbed by fellow museum-goers, the party exited a back door to avoid a growing throng of onlookers. According to reports, Jolie and kids flew into Calgary to visit Pitt, who begins filming on The Assassination of Jesse James later this month.

Soleil Moon Frye has a little Punky Brewster of her own, as she and husband Jason Goldberg welcomed a daughter this Wednesday. Poet Sienna Rose Goldberg will no doubt grow up to be a part of modern pop culture herself, as mom Frye will forever be known as everyone’s favorite 80’s orphan-girl, and dad Goldberg is a television producer we can thank for shows like Punk’d and Beauty and the Geek.

Tag Cloud

See It Skip It 007 San Diego Comic-Con miniseries Wes Anderson chucky Box Office DGA facebook japan comic book movie universal monsters Musicals Mudbound DC Comics remakes wonder woman GIFs theme song 71st Emmy Awards NYCC Hallmark YouTube Premium halloween Mindy Kaling dramedy book adaptation zombie Super Bowl Bravo Disney Plus black science fiction Fargo Netflix Christmas movies TV One godzilla cancelled television Hallmark Christmas movies obituary Photos Pop TV 2017 USA Network fast and furious Nat Geo Action quibi trophy posters Masterpiece President Peacock stop motion DirecTV latino Mary Tyler Moore National Geographic comedies boxing 2021 Marvel Television CBS All Access TruTV boxoffice Logo HBO mob Alien Cosplay Song of Ice and Fire Country HBO Go BBC pirates of the caribbean criterion X-Men rt labs critics edition spinoff anthology lord of the rings Amazon Studios VH1 prank south america HFPA spanish Marathons rotten Universal Pictures Endgame king arthur harry potter Comedy SDCC Winners TV movies Television Critics Association Family scorecard king kong hidden camera Sundance TV Spectrum Originals indie Tags: Comedy 2020 Cartoon Network dreamworks Lifetime 99% Exclusive Video FOX 2018 MTV live event blaxploitation IFC Films comic IMDb TV Academy Awards streaming 73rd Emmy Awards supernatural ESPN foreign biography Superheroe Writers Guild of America new zealand sag awards American Society of Cinematographers Sundance Brie Larson cats adventure thriller DC Universe true crime cars NBC Extras scary book Black History Month comic book movies Ghostbusters Food Network Columbia Pictures TLC biopic live action documentary razzies a nightmare on elm street ABC Family Apple TV Plus royal family Funimation green book CNN new york Reality Competition cancelled TV shows Rock Premiere Dates elevated horror slashers game show die hard Superheroes Warner Bros. TCA 2017 TCA Awards trailers jamie lee curtis Freeform ratings The Walking Dead Awards mutant cinemax satire VOD Emmy Nominations animated mission: impossible rotten movies we love Ovation cancelled TV series Pixar Comic Book slasher TIFF PlayStation Grammys Sony Pictures RT History Binge Guide Broadway nature TV renewals Holidays adenture hispanic Podcast heist movie Winter TV Thanksgiving Discovery Channel binge dragons serial killer Women's History Month FX Trivia cancelled First Look composers game of thrones Turner Classic Movies MCU venice YouTube series news zombies OneApp feel good name the review technology witnail high school kids black comedy dark romance docudrama mockumentary Tomatazos Captain marvel nfl football FX on Hulu Valentine's Day HBO Max free movies popular Sundance Now women Syfy spain Legendary Instagram Live spanish language festival AMC Plus deadpool reviews psycho Teen Vudu screenings dceu canceled TV shows classics The Academy screen actors guild MSNBC scary movies transformers hispanic heritage month comiccon political drama legend mcc gangster marvel cinematic universe Martial Arts period drama Classic Film worst movies Trailer Neflix child's play The Arrangement Avengers Emmys Tarantino Britbox streaming movies DC streaming service APB spider-man Heroines 72 Emmy Awards directors fresh Hulu adaptation USA Turner CW Seed golden globe awards GLAAD zero dark thirty italian aapi The Walt Disney Company CBS Red Carpet 4/20 Shudder OWN YA LGBT Interview First Reviews El Rey genre action-comedy Marvel Countdown History Calendar politics Lionsgate revenge Paramount Network leaderboard Awards Tour ID 2015 1990s sequel SundanceTV spy thriller james bond Kids & Family VICE based on movie dogs Tokyo Olympics franchise documentaries Oscars Hear Us Out Netflix children's TV Fox Searchlight Apple TV+ SXSW Mary Poppins Returns The Witch aliens Crunchyroll YouTube Red A24 docuseries Creative Arts Emmys Holiday Shondaland Star Trek ViacomCBS E! Travel Channel debate Elton John PBS police drama movies 45 Comedy Central BBC America BET Awards romantic comedy The CW BBC One Crackle Paramount vampires what to watch ITV ABC 24 frames Horror Black Mirror A&E Biopics Ellie Kemper TV Land natural history teaser christmas movies Pride Month sports Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt anime Dark Horse Comics Western Reality BAFTA Sci-Fi cops toy story nbcuniversal historical drama best Set visit french Esquire talk show crime telelvision Drama reboot WGN comic books Pet Sematary Stephen King rt labs justice league Mary poppins twilight 79th Golden Globes Awards war 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards television Certified Fresh richard e. Grant Image Comics saw toronto The Purge dexter parents Disney Channel laika GoT new star wars movies know your critic superman RT21 Pop Infographic FXX Animation jurassic park Hollywood Foreign Press Association cults Music Showtime critics all-time discovery hist ABC Signature sequels concert IFC kong TBS australia cartoon TCM TNT ghosts AMC Disney streaming service Sneak Peek Walt Disney Pictures Epix halloween tv Fall TV singing competition blockbusters Fantasy unscripted Television Academy Disney+ Disney Plus Film Festival crime drama Paramount Plus Anna Paquin BET dc Comic-Con@Home 2021 medical drama suspense Cannes 2019 Polls and Games Baby Yoda Chilling Adventures of Sabrina award winner TCA Winter 2020 robots Chernobyl indiana jones target 93rd Oscars movie superhero Summer Amazon Disney comics Year in Review emmy awards Watching Series marvel comics Nominations rt archives Best and Worst Rocky social media Film Comics on TV Character Guide Star Wars Musical E3 rom-coms Nickelodeon blockbuster monster movies Pacific Islander 21st Century Fox Trophy Talk space Arrowverse Lucasfilm Acorn TV Adult Swim hollywood Tumblr video Rocketman Marvel Studios Quiz video on demand Pirates olympics asian-american Opinion festivals Spring TV films 20th Century Fox Mystery disaster Fox News basketball Starz TV Spike doctor who scene in color sitcom tv talk NBA 90s Rom-Com critic resources werewolf Christmas sopranos psychological thriller travel Apple Schedule Prime Video TCA PaleyFest archives Election diversity CMT crossover New York Comic Con casting international strong female leads crime thriller batman Amazon Prime Amazon Prime Video versus finale renewed TV shows spider-verse stand-up comedy cooking breaking bad joker worst Lifetime Christmas movies stoner vs. Toys LGBTQ 2016 Tubi golden globes independent canceled Universal Video Games japanese WarnerMedia art house kaiju young adult