Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of September 16th

Four big releases hit theatres this weekend, including a 3D version of a family classic and a remake of one of the most controversial films of the 70’s. Will any of them claim the top spot at the box office? Here’s how I see the weekend shaping up:

A few weeks before it makes its debut on Blu-Ray, Disney is rereleasing their classic 1994 film The Lion King into theatres for another go around. It’s a pretty savvy marketing move, one that could resonates with the adults who grew up on the movie and want their kids to experience it on the big screen. Rereleases rarely do big numbers (unless they’re the Star Wars films, that is), but there’s something special about The Lion King (the enduring soundtrack, the Broadway show). In what may be considered a risky move, I’m predicting a first place opening with $13 million.

Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman and discovers a contract is out on his life after a heist goes wrong. The movie is adapted from a 2005 novel by James Sallis and has been getting rave reviews for its 70’s action film vibe. Though packed with great actors, including Carey Mulligan, Ron Pearlman, Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston, the success of the film is going to rest solely on the shoulders of Gosling, who has yet to break out in to a A-list film star. Drive could do the trick. I’m predicting a second place finish with $12.5 million.

Straw Dogs is a remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah film staring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. This version re-teams Superman Returns stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth as married couple David and Amy Sumner, who return to her hometown in the South, where they run into serious conflict with a few of the locals. Suffice to say, things turn seriously violent. The original film is a cult classic, controversial for the degree of violence it shows, so this new version has much to live up to. Marsden and Bosworth should be up the challenge – the two of them had great chemistry in Superman Returns (far more than Bosworth had with her leading man, Brandon Routh). I’m predicting that Straw Dogs arrives in fourth place with $9 million.

The final new release of the weekend is I Don’t Know How She Does It, an ensemble comedy about a financial executive and mother, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and how she manages all of her responsibilities. I Don’t Know How She Does It also stars Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks (who also appears in Drive) and Olivia Munn. Parker definitely need a win after the disaster that was Sex and the City 2, and this movie could be it, based simply on its supposed $8 million budget. I’m predicting a fifth place finish and $8 million gross.

As for holdovers from last weekend, the only one film that will likely stick around is Contagion, which has held up strong all week. I’m predicting a third place finish with $11 million.

So, to recap, here are our predictions:

1) The Lion King in 3D – $13 million
2) Drive – $12.5 million
3) Contagion – $11 million
4) Straw Dogs – $9 million
5) I Don’t Know How She Does It – $8 million

Be sure to check back on Sunday to see how the weekend turns out!

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