Weekend Forecast: Which Buddies Face a Box-Office Beating?

Happy Friday! And you thought it would never come. But BAM, just like that, we are back in business at the movies -- well, sort of, if only because we've got two wide releases for the first time in three weeks, and odds are you'll want to see at least one of them. Rejoice! And when your done with that, get to forecasting the weekend's box-office champ.


· The Green Hornet: Elvis Mitchell wasn't a fan, but hey. Michel Gondry! Seth Rogen! Big-screen superhero(-ish) adaptation! 3-D! Gulp. Sony scared off critics and industry observers alike when it pushed the big-budget tale of Britt Reid and his sidekick Kato's crimefighting exploits back to January, but if you're an average moviegoer who hasn't had anything remotely rewarding to chew into since, oh, True Grit, then, well, any port in a storm, right. And what a port! Has Gondry ever made anything uninteresting? Even his failures (Human Nature, Be Kind Rewind) are alternately transfixing and frustrating, and knowing that The Green Hornet came first from a place of film-love before anywhere simply cashed-in (though I'm sure the man got paiiiid), I am hopeful this will experience a successful opening that compels studios to finally have a little faith in auteurs to open a blockbuster. Hahahahahaha, right. Though it will end the holiday weekend in first place -- a Gondry first. Enjoy it, MG! FOUR-DAY FORECAST: $35.2 million

· The Dilemma: Michelle Orange wasn't a fan, but hey. Ron Howard! Vince Vaughn! All right, sorry -- there is no faking the funk for The Dilemma, a troublesome film that, in fairness, has far more conceptual ambition than you've seen in its buddy-comedy marketing shtick. It actually has far more conceptual ambition than it really knows how to corral throughout an entire movie, a sort of demolition derby of tone and genre in which Vaughn himself is the last vehicle running -- and just barely. I'll have a little bit more about this later today with a Ron (and Clint!) Howard interview, but for now, let's just acknowledge the conventional wisdom that says Vaughn and Kevin James can mostly open a movie, even in January, and even programmed against a 3-D pseudo-tentpole action flick. FOUR-DAY FORECAST: $21.9 million


Prestige-minded moviegoers should be on high-alert for seasonal expansions in their regions, with added screen counts as high as 780 (The King's Speech) in some areas. Other powerful titles seen upgrading this weekend ahead of the Golden Globes include Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Rabbit Hole and the unwavering True Grit, tacking on nearly 11 percent more theaters from its first-place finish a week ago. Stay away from windows and keep your pets inside!


I guess I'd just recommend what I've recommended about 100 times on this site already: See Barney's Version, which also expands this week in connection to the Globes, where star Paul Giamatti is one of the night's deserving nominees for his superb work as the most misanthropic Canadian TV producer in cinema history. Any film with a David Cronenberg cameo can't be bad, right? See if you can spot it, as long as you just see it.


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