Box Office Guru Preview: Make Way for McLovin

Superbad, The Invasion and The Last Legion invade theaters

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Carrying some major buzz into the marketplace, Sony's teen comedy Superbad hits the multiplexes this weekend aiming to bring in some big business from horny young adults looking for a spark to get rid of their end-of-summer blues. The R-rated entry comes from current comedy king Judd Apatow who directed Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin which collectively grossed a stunning $256M domestically. He takes on producing chores here but his involvement has wisely been promoted heavily in the film's marketing campaign which really ignited earlier this summer with the release of the uncensored red-band trailer on the internet which basically put Superbad on the map.

The marketplace for teen sex comedies has had a void since the American Pie franchise switched into direct-to-DVD mode. Superbad has the goods to make itself into this generation's must-see raunchfest with its story of three lovable nerdy high school kids on a mission to score booze for a party to impress some girls. The lethal mix of strong marketing, filmmaker starpower, and a high-quality product that actually delivers what the audience wants will lead to a potent opening weekend that should be enough to send it to the top of the charts. And with a reported $18M budget, this could very well be the summer's least expensive number one hit. Crashing into over 2,800 theaters, Superbad might collect around $25M this weekend.


Superbad!

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig give the suspense thriller The Invasion the most starpower of any of this weekend's new releases. The PG-13 film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing a psychiatrist and the current Bond as her doctor pal who must team up to fight an alien entity that infects the human population around the world. This latest remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers boasts some considerable star wattage which will help it get the attention of adults. Warner Bros. is hoping to appeal to the same audience that made hits out of previous late-summer adult thrillers like The Skeleton Key ($16.1M, $5,795 average)and Kidman's The Others ($14.1M opening, $8,397 average). With no other scary movies for mature audiences, competition should not be too fierce although The Bourne Ultimatum's third weekend will be a formidable foe. Landing in about 2,700 locations, The Invasion could debut with around $13M.


The two stars of The Invasion.

The Weinstein Company unleashes its Roman empire adventure The Last Legion on Friday. The PG-13 film stars Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth, and Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai. Excitement in the marketplace is not too high and the push has not been very strong so modest returns are expected at the box office. The current pair of threequels topping the charts will give Legion some major competition for the action crowd. Debuting in roughly 2,000 theaters, The Last Legion could bow to about $6M.


Ben Kingsley leads The Last Legion.

Like most summer sequels, Rush Hour 3 should lose more than half of its opening weekend audience in the sophomore session. There is no special buzz around the action-comedy to prevent a big drop and Superbad will steal away much of the young comedy crowd. A 55% decline is likely which would put Rush Hour 3 at about $22M for the weekend and $88M after ten days.

Fellow threequel The Bourne Ultimatum looks to witness a smaller decline in its third assignment. Universal might experience a 45% drop to around $18M for a robust 17-day cume of $162M.

LAST YEAR: Opening weaker than expected, but still at number one, was the Samuel L. Jackson actioner Snakes on a Plane which bowed to $15.2M. New Line found its way to a disappointing $34M. Talladega Nights dropped to second with $13.8M while World Trade Center held steady in third with $10.9M. The dance sensation Step Up fell to fourth with $10.2M while Universal's teen comedy Accepted debuted in fifth place with $10M. A $36.3M final resulted. MGM's comedy Material Girls stumbled into ninth with a mere $4.6M on its way to only $11.4M. But opening powerfully in limited release was the mystery The Illusionist with less than $1M from only 51 theaters for a potent $18,195 average. The Yari Film Group release expanded nationally and enjoyed good legs going on to gross $39.9M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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