JoBlo.com's Box-Office Predictions! (January 27-29)

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.

The early part of the year has become a good time for Liam Neeson to fight things -- kidnappers, stolen identities, and now the Alaskan wilds and its lupine inhabitants as director Joe Carnahan reunites with his A-TEAM star for the man-versus-nature tale THE GREY.

While Neeson leading a group of man-meals against a tenacious pack of savage territorial wolves may not have the same initial attraction as TAKEN ($24.7M on this same weekend three years ago) or UNKNOWN ($21.9M in mid-February last year), audiences should still brave the chilly weather (actual or cinematic) to see the towering Irish asskicker handle some hungry mammals and put THE GREY on top.

Apparently people still pay to see Katherine Heigl movies, albeit in decreasing numbers (KILLERS opened to $15.8M, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT to $14.5M). Even with a Groupon discount boost, her new action-comedy ONE FOR THE MONEY will probably have to settle in behind the more action-capable Kate Beckinsale and UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING's second week.

Without a ludicrous budget and/or brand recognition, Sam Worthington as a "name" doesn't seem enough for opening a movie. Even with the solid supporting cast (Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell), the heist thriller MAN ON A LEDGE might only have just enough juice to climb into the Top 5 in the crowd of awards faves and action alternatives.

Speaking of awards, in the wake of the Acadamy Awards nominations EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE should have a decent hold in its second week of wide release -- it opened to $10M and might hit another $7.5M thanks to the Oscar attention. Same for George Clooney's THE DESCENDANTS, which has been slowly growing in theater count since mid-November but finally goes out onto almost 2000 screens this weekend to capitalize on the Golden Globe and Oscar notices. But after its better-than-expected opening, I'm betting George Lucas' RED TAILS glides for another weekend, keeping them both away from the Top 5.  

My crack at the Top 5:

1. THE GREY - $17M
4. RED TAILS - $9.5M
5. MAN ON A LEDGE - $8.5M


Source: JoBlo.com



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