JoBlo.com's Box-Office Predictions! (December 9-11)

It's always fascinating to observe the box office competition, the bloody Hollywood gladiatorial clash. To cheer for champions and underdogs, to speculate on tactics, or to hail the demise of the dreadful. And, of course, to witness the weekly reminders that success (or failure) isn't always an indicator of quality.

All through the week, JoBlo.com delivers news, reviews, rumors and opinions on everything about the movies. But when the weekend arrives, eyeballs tend to fall on the business side of show business to see how those all-important numbers tally.

After the success of last year's VALENTINE'S DAY ($56M opening, $110M total), director Garry Marshall and Warner Bros. assembled another cast of familiar faces for a different holiday-themed romcom in the spiritual sequel NEW YEAR'S EVE.

The post-summer box office has basically been an implosion (TWILIGHT excepted), and while NEW YEAR'S EVE should easily win the weekend, it probably won't come close to those VALENTINE'S DAY numbers. Sure, it has a similar collection of random pretty humans, but it arrives three weekends before the actual calendar flip (VALENTINE'S DAY opened on February 12th), and at a time of year when there are real-life holiday parties to plan and attend.

And even though it's the first major release to hit theaters since the day before Thanksgiving, it's a tough time of year to attract eyeballs -- this same weekend last year, audiences almost completely ignored the ostensible star power of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie when THE TOURIST drowned in second place (behind NARNIA: DAWN TREADER) with just $16M. Putting a dozen or so additional famous people on the screen will probably not have much greater effect.

My guess: $26 million

Jonah Hill is someone who shouldn't be put in charge of watching children, since he'll obviously just spout profanity in their vicinity, take them to New York City and expose them to undesirable events.

Or at least that's what THE SITTER would have us believe, but will people show up for an R-rated ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING? It sure is being met with critical contempt at Rotten Tomatoes (so is NEW YEAR'S EVE, but romcoms seem to be more review-resistant since their target audience apparently wants/expects the same recycled scenarios and outcomes).

Director David Gordon Green found reasonable success with his R-rated bud action-comedy PINEAPPLE EXPRESS ($23M opening, $96M total), but his last genre blend, the FX-filled stoner fantasy YOUR HIGHNESS, couldn't get people to the theater ($9M opening, $21M total) even for a peek at Natalie Portman's tight butt. And Jonah Hill is certainly no Natalie Portman's butt.

My guess: $11 million


It should be interesting to see how things land on the rest of the chart. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN (PART 1) will probably be able to lead the leftovers in its fourth week, but the family-friendly movies like THE MUPPETS and ARTHUR CHRISTMAS oddly don't seem to have much inertia.

Martin Scorsese's HUGO could benefit from this seeming disinterest in puppetry and CG, and coast on the positive feedback it's receiving while it expands further into wide release (2600 theaters). And Clooney's THE DESCENDANTS ventures onto more screens as well, and might finally crawl up into the Top 5 after a slow rollout and buildup of great word-of-mouth.

My shot at the Top 5:

1. NEW YEAR'S EVE - $26M
2. THE SITTER - $11M
4. HUGO - $7.2M



Source: JoBlo.com



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