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Box Office Wizard (12.17.10)

'Tis the season for Box Office Wizardry. All you have to do is predict which five movies will place in the top five of this weekend's U.S. domestic box office. It’s that easy. I will make my own predictions here and explain them to you each week to give you some sort of reference point. It's then your job to enter a comment with your top five. 

This is Week #32. It’s never too late to start! The first week you predict is the first week you enter the Box Office Wizard competition. For every correct prediction each week, you earn a point. Points are cumulative. The game keeps going on and on forever and ever except we will reset everyone back to zero -- let's say -- once a year. Each week there will be at least two winners: a weekend wizard for the users who guessed the most correct and a box office wizard for the user with the most points to date. The goal is to be Box Office Wizard for as long as you can. I'll pick an end date for the year at some point and then whoever has the most becomes the year's box office wizard. Maybe by the team that happens, Player Affinity will be so wildly popular that we'll have some cool free stuff to give the Box Office Wizard of the Year. Regardless, it's worth giving a try. What do you have to lose?


Last Week's Top Five

1.  The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - $24.5M (weekend)…$24.5M (gross)
2.  The Tourist - $17.0M…$17.0M
3.  Tangled - $14.5M…$115.6M
4.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - $8.5M…$257.6M 
5.  Unstoppable - $3.7M…$74.2M

Week #31 Wizard(s): Steven, Sallas, Simon - 5 pts
Current Box Office Wizard(s): SimonSays - 90 Pts 

If your name started with "S," than you hit jackpot this week. Some of you doubted The Tourist could still finish second with a weak take, which hurt the rest of your results.

SimonSays - 90
Steven C - 89
TheGamerGeek - 72
Sallas - 71
Kieran - 42
Max A – 24
Olly H - 14
Dustin C - 10
Dementious - 6 
Joseph – 6
OracleofGame - 6
Dinah – 5
HSXGirl - 4
Harmonica - 3
Matthew D – 3
Julian – 2
Lydia – 2

Remember, only submissions in the comment section count and they must be made by 12:00 PM SATURDAY. Check our weekly recap posting late afternoon every Monday for the box office figures of the weekend. Remember, we count the WEEKEND ACTUALS, not the ESTIMATES announced on Sundays. On 4-day weekends, only the 3-day total matters.

Here are this week's new contenders followed by my predictions.

New Contenders this Weekend

Yogi Bear Movie PosterYogi Bear
Directed by Eric Brevig
Written by Jeffrey Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin, Brad Copeland
Starring: Tom Cavanagh, Anna Faris, (voices) Dan Akyroyd, Justin Timberlake
Genre: Family/Comedy
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release: 3,515

Trong Legacy Movie PosterTron: Legacy
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (screenplay), Steve Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird (characters)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen
Genre: Action/Sci Fi/Fantasy

Distributor: Buena Vista
Release: 3,451

How Do You Know
Written and Directed by James L. Brooks
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson
Genre: Romance/Comedy

Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Release: 2,483

FighterThe Fighter

Directed by David O. Russell
Written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
Genre: Drama

Distributor: Paramount
Release: 2,503

My Top Five Predictions 

This weekend is tough. This holiday season is tough. And the fact that all these new films minus the drama of the group have mixed or worse Tomatometer scores doesn't help swing things in any direction. The good news is that last weekend's best film made only $24 million, so there should not be any problem getting into the top five for most of these new films.

The big competitors are Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear. The former is under all kinds of pressure to perform at the box office. The other is hoping to become the next Alvin and the Chipmunks, seeing as that's the only film of its ilk that has had success. Live-action/CGI films have been killed at the box office this year: just look at Marmaduke. Tron: Legacy will get it done, but with modesty. I feel like the range of $40 million is a safe bet. The ceiling is the $70 million Avatar made last year, but that's a generous ceiling. Disney also did that business a few years back with the second "National Treasure" film.

Yogi Bear will take second, but not impressively. I think somewhere just south of $20 million should do the trick, $15-20 most likely. Most family films didn't knock it out of the park this time of year until the Chipmunks came along, so that's a reasonable estimate. In third, expect to see The Fighter. Oscar-buzz films have killed in limited release this year and coming off numerous Golden Globe nominations and SAG Award nominations, I expect that to favor "Fighter." Awards season boxing films also have a decent track record. I will say $12-15 million.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which did poorly last week, has no saving grace this week with Disney and "Legacy" coming to town. $10-12 million sounds right.

Fifth place will be tough. Black Swan expands to nearly 1,000 films, then there's still How Do You Know and the second week of The Tourist. I've got all three pegged for $8-10 million. So, friends, who do you like? I think the highest ceiling of all those films belongs to How Do You Know.

1. Tron: Legacy
2. Yogi Bear
3. The Fighter
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
5. How Do You Know


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