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Box Office Wizard (9.3.10)

This proposition is simple, amigo. Either you play Box Office Wizard, our weekly box office prediction game, or I cut your arm off, diagonally, with a rusty machete. I say keep your arm, because all you're required to do is predict which five movies will place in the top five of this weekend's U.S. domestic box office chart. 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 #17. 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. 1. Takers - $20.5M (weekend)… $20.5M (gross)
                            2. 2. The Last Exorcism - $20.3M…$20.3M
                            3. 3. The Expendables - $9.5M…$82.0M
                            4. 4. Eat Pray Love - $6.8M…$60.5M
                            5. 5. The Other Guys - $6.2M…$99M
                            Week #16 Wizard(s):  Steven, SimonSays - 3 pts

                            Current Box Office Wizard: Steven C - 52 Pts 

                            Simon and I were stripped of a perfect five at the buzzer when Takers inched ahead of "Exorcism."

                            ALL-TIME TOTALS
                            Steven C - 52
                            TheGamerGeek - 46

                            SimonSays - 40
                            Sallas - 27
                            Olly H - 14
                            Dustin C - 10
                            OracleofGame - 6
                            Dementious - 5 
                            Matthew D - 3

                            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

                            The American (Wed.)
                            Directed by Anton Corbijn
                            Written by Rowan Joffe, Martin Booth (novel)
                            Starring: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten
                            Genre: Thriller/Drama

                            Distributor: Focus Features
                            Release: 2,823 theaters 


                            Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis
                            Written by Robert Rodriguez, Alvaro Rodriguez
                            Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba
                            Genre: Action/Comedy
                            Distributor: Fox
                            Release: 2,670 theaters 

                            Going the Distance
                            Directed by Nanette Burstein
                            Written by Geoff LaTulippe
                            Starring: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Charlie Day
                            Genre: Romantic Comedy
                            Distributor: Warner Bros. (New Line)
                            Release: 3,030 theaters 

                            My Top Five Predictions

                            Two words: crap shoot. My projections have the top five films this week finishing with five-ish million dollars of each other, so this should be interesting. If you look at the film comparisons, all three films opening this week project to make at or around $10 million. There’s a romantic comedy that’s been minimally publicized, a slow-paced thriller with a major star and an exploitation film.

                            Based on buzz, if any of these films have the potential to exceed expectations, it’s Machete. I think the bar is only so high for the other films, but Robert Rodriguez could exceed expectations, even if the film Machete was first featured in, Grindhouse, was a box-office flop at just $10 million. I think “Machete” could slightly outdo expectations, especially with a more attractive cast, so I’m going to say $16 million.

                            It’s tough here at No. 2, but I think Going the Distance, the film with the largest release this weekend, will perform slightly better than most films of its rom-com ilk coming out in September and all. Barrymore’s films tend to fair reasonably well, so I think $12 million is possible. The American should finish right behind with $10-11 million based on that estimation.

                            Last week’s neck-and-neck competitors will round out the top five despite what will be a large drop. Based on performance this week, Takers will beat out The Last Exorcism, and horror films usually fall further anyway, despite a better reception for "Exorcism." Both, however, shouldn’t fear the more successful August films below them. Each will land somewhere between $8 and $10 million.

                            1. 1. Machete
                            2. 2. Going the Distance
                            3. 3. The American
                            4. 4. Takers
                            5. 5. The Last Exorcism


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