As everybody knows, I’ve been on a box-office-prediction hot streak lately, and the movie mavens made it awfully easy for me to continue my historic run this weekend. Sony’s sequel-to-a-remake The Grudge 2 is premiering in more than 3,000 locations, and it’ll wind up a sure No. 1. In its favor are its wide release; its PG-13 rating; people’s desperate need to see scary movies as Halloween approaches; and, most of all, the fact that The Grudge opened with a huge $39.1 million two years ago (en route to a $110.4 mil overall domestic take). Sarah Michelle Gellar appears only briefly in this one, but that won’t stop Amber Tamblyn from picking up the slack and helping the movie earn $35 mil before the weekend is out.
The other big debuts are Universal’s comedian-as-politician comedy Man of the Year and Fox’s action thing The Marine, both playing in about 2,500 theaters. The edge for second goes to MOTY and its star, Robin Williams, who after a bit of a career drought came back strong earlier in the year with the $71.4 mil-grossing RV. So I see MOTY bringing in $17 mil this weekend. It’ll put the smackdown on The Marine, which stars wrestler John Cena and is exec-produced by the WWE’s Vince McMahon. I know this sounds like a movie to be feared, but I’ll tell ya, I first saw a preview for this flick on TV Wednesday night. Are people even aware of it? As for wrestlers-turned-thespians, The Rock has fared a lot better than Hulk Hogan did — and yet, the hit-and-miss performances of his films show how the WWE fanbase still has yet to prove its firm loyalty at the multiplex. So don’t expect The Marine to perform a Five Knuckle Shuffle on the competition at the box office this weekend. It’ll only make $9 mil — way ahead of 8X’s limited-release Christian-targeted period narrative One Night With the King at just $3 mil, sure, but way behind Scorsese holdover The Departed, which will stay strong with $15 mil.
Speaking of staying strong, how about if Michigan makes it through Saturday night’s tough matchup at Penn State without losing all of their Heisman hopefuls? Oh, and another win would be nice too. Whaddya say, Wolverines?