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Box Office Preview: 'Twilight' to suck up buckets of blood...and big bucks

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Twilight_forbo02_l

Twilight_forbo02_l

Twilight, the

much-anticipated movie version of Stephenie Meyer‘s smash vampire-romance

novel, hits theaters this weekend, at long last. And it’ll be huge, right?

Totally! But competition from fellow newcomer Bolt and strong holdover Quantum

of Solace could take a bite out of Twilight‘s

grosses. Here — for the first time in blog form, woot! — is how I see the

weekend’s box office top five shaping up.

1. Twilight — $69

million

There’s no doubt that the long-awaited adaptation arrives in

theaters with great expectations. For good reason: This film (starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, pictured) is sure to attract

the same kind of young-woman audience that made movies like High School Musical 3 and the Hannah Montana concert film big hits

earlier this year. But just how huge will it be? Certainly, Bolt and Quantum of Solace will be fierce rivals, and there’s some doubt

that fledgling studio Summit has the marketing chops to open a blockbuster. But let’s get real. Any fair

assessment of Twilight‘s demographic

reach (it’s hard to imagine many young women would rather see Bolt or Bond), ticket presales (it has already sold out hundreds of shows

nationwide), and general zeitgeist penetration points to big, big box office.

Bigger, indeed, than HSM3‘s debut

($42 mil) or Hannah Montana‘s ($31.1

mil). Maybe even — dare I say it? — Harry

Potter big. This’ll be a fun race to watch.

2. Bolt — $41

million

To me, all these animated movies are indistinguishable, but

to little kids everywhere they’re…well, they’re like crack. Chances are, the

lack of a Pixar label on this CG Disney release will keep grosses well under

the $70.5 mil that The Incredibles

banked in its November opening four years ago. But hefty returns on the order

of Happy Feet‘s $41.5 mil November

premiere two years ago seem do-able, especially with this movie opening in a

record 982 digital 3-D theaters.

3. Quantum of Solace

$27 million

The latest James Bond adventure is likely to take a hit this

weekend, and its drop could be pretty steep, like 60 percent or more. Why?

Remember that it got a poor B- CinemaScore grade, meaning that its

word-of-mouth probably isn’t very good. Remember that it attracted mostly older

men, folks who can’t always be counted on to keep coming back for more.

Remember that its switch to a more Bond-as-Bourne setup may have alienated some

fans. Remember all those things (which I’ve mentioned before). And now consider

this new piece of info: After I reported that the film scored an estimated $70.4

mil on Sunday, its final figures were remarkably lower. Quantum of Solace, it turns out, only earned $67.5 last weekend. That’s still a

lot of dough, and it’s still a record bow for a 007 flick, but it also

indicates that, starting just three days after opening, the film was already starting

to slow.

4. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — $18 million

The animated hit (14-day domestic box office take: $120

mil-plus) managed to hold on well opposite James Bond last weekend, dropping

just 45 percent. But it’ll have a tougher fight against two youth-baiting flicks

this time around.

5. Role Models — $6

million

Blockbuster, schmockbuster. The Paul Rudd comedy has earned

a nice $40 mil in three weeks, making it a profitable success. In this day and

age, mere profitability is enough.

More Box Office News:

Quantum of Solace Stirs up a Win

Holiday Films to Receive Season’s Greetings, Beatings

Madagascar 2: Box Office No. 1

Paul Rudd’s Cult Following Equals Big Money

High School Musical 3 Scares up Another Win

addCredit(“Deana Newcomb”)

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