Vampires With Bite, WW II Planes Take Flight, Hanks and Bullock Together – Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions, Weekend of January 20th, 2012

A fine selection of films enter theatres this weekend, all looking to nab a piece of the pie and your dollars. A tearjerker from the dream team of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock; the return of Kate Beckinsale in tight leather; the latest from superstar director Steven Soderbergh; or a non-Star Wars produced film from George Lucas. These are the contenders, and here are our predictions.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a post 9/11 film staring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, what’s got to be considered a stellar team-up with two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Wait a minute? Isn’t that what many said about Larry Crowne, with Hanks and Julia Roberts? I’m pretty sure it is, and that film underwhelmed at the box office last year. I think that there’s a strong chance that we’ll see something similar with this film, even if People Magazine calls it the film of (last) year. I’m predicting Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will debut at number two with $17 million.

Underworld: Awakening is the fourth in the vampire/werewolf franchise, the first in 3D and the first to feature Kate Beckinsale since the second film. While the series has never done much for me personally, there is certainly a built in audience for it, so we should see a strong debut this weekend, helped especially by the higher ticket prices because of the 3D. Look for Underworld: Awakening to debut in the top spot this weekend with a gross of $23 million.

Red Tails is a World War II centered flying film, inspired by true events, produced by George Lucas and staring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. I think that’s all you really have to know. You see, apart from the Indiana Jones films and Star Wars, Lucas has had minimal box office effect as a producer. Howard The Duck, anyone? Radioland Murders? Exactly. Throw in the fact that neither Gooding or Howard open films and I doubt Red Tails will have much of an impact this weekend. I’m predicting a third place finish with $14 million.

Haywire is the latest ensemble film from director Steven Soderbergh, and features Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender. An espionage/spy tail, reviews have been solid but advertising has been somewhat under the radar for Haywire, which should diminish any real showing this weekend. Look for a soft debut outside the top five, likely number 6 with $8 million.

As for the rest of the top five, last week’s number one film Contraband should fall significantly to number four with $12 million, while Beauty and the Beast in 3D will close out the top five with $10.5 million.

So, to recap, here are our predictions:

1) Underworld: Awakening – $23 million
2) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – $17 million
3) Red Tails – $14 million
4) Contraband – $12 million
5) Beauty and the Beast 3D – $10.5 million

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

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