The Reject ReportA year ago last week, James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar beat out Titanic to be the highest domestic grossing film of all time. Cameron just happened to be the director on the monstrously successful Titanic, too. You all know this.

What you might not have known is that Cameron is back, and this time, he’s going spelunking. Sanctum is sure to be Cameron’s next grand excursion into box office glory and could very well beat even Avatar’s record breaking numbers. What’s that? Cameron didn’t direct Sanctum? He just produced it? But the trailers…oh, never mind. Tank.

BIG HITTERS

Even though he isn’t the director, James Cameron’s name is being splashed all over ads for Sanctum, the new 3-D thriller that comes off like The Descent without the added bonus of creepy, albino cave dwellers. Will it be a huge success this weekend? Probably not. There’s no name recognition behind the film despite what fans of Fantasitc Four and Ioan Gruffudd have to say. That’s probably why Universal is making Cameron and his 3-D technology the stars of Sanctum. We all know how well that worked out for Resident Evil: Afterlife, don’t we? $26.6-million opening weekend, by the way.

Will Sanctum come out #1 this weekend. There’s a good chance of that. Even with the R rating it’s been saddled with, the premise seems accessible for just about anyone. Much more so than the other new release this weekend. Even more so than Anthony Hopkins shying away from crosses and holy water. In fact, the most likely candidate that could keep Sanctum from coming out on top is The King’s Speech, which continues its Oscar front-running dominance at the ticket booths. That isn’t likely, though, and Sanctum, with a mid-teen opening, will surely be at the head of this particular class. Just don’t tell anyone James Cameron directed it. Universal sure isn’t.

See that very trailer right here, and if you recognize anyone else attached to the film, shout out their names. Your neighbors won’t mind. You might even make a few friends if any passersby are Richard Roxburgh fans.

That other new release this weekend is The Roommate. It looks like a remake of Single White Female and stars Leighton Meester (remember her from Country Strong?), Minka Kelly (remember her from “Friday Night Lights”?), and Cam Gigandet (ooh, a star!). If there’s anything this film proves, to me at least, it’s that Leighton Meester is much easier to spell than Ioan Gruffudd. Where it comes in at the box office will be an entirely different story. Its premise is one step up from a Lifetime Original. It has absolute nada in terms of star power. It’s rated PG-13, so it might draw that crowd, but even they will probably be home watching “Skins” or something. The Roommate could break into double digits. It very well might, but anything more will be teens who buy a ticket for it only wanting to sneak into the R-rated Sanctum. Jokes on them. They won’t get their 3-D glasses. Dumb kids.

In case you don’t know who any of those people I mentioned above are, check out this trailer for The Roommate. Familiarize yourself with them. Then forget them somewhere in the Familiarities section.

FAMILIARITIES

As I said, The King’s Speech will be the movie to give Sanctum a run for that #1 spot. Its box office take actually increased by 40.9% last weekend, a deserved boost from its 12 Academy Award nominations. It could very well be up again this weekend, with word of it being the front-runner for Best Picture surfacing. In fact, with any luck, it could break past $90 million in domestic sales this weekend. An impressive haul for The Weinstein Company.

The rest of the films this weekend will probably stack up just as they have in previous weekends. The Rite and The Mechanic will drop off big. True Grit, Black Swan, and The Fighter will have minimal drops. The Fighter and The Dilemma will probably be duking it out for the #10 spot. In the end, as is probably come February 27th, The King’s Speech will be the big winner here.

LITTLE OPENERS

There aren’t really any notable limited releases this weekend save for one, and that’s a curiosity at best. Evidently someone in China thought it a good idea to remake What Women Want. You know what film I’m talking about. The one Mel Gibson starred in where he gained the ability to hear what women were thinking. They probably aren’t thinking about Jacuzzis, Mel. Spoiler alert. In any case, What Women Want 2011 aka Wo Zhi Nu Run Xin opens in 26 screens in select markets this weekend. It’s got a pretty decent cast including Andy Lau, Li Gong, Kelly Hu (I wouldn’t mind hearing what she had to say, if you know what I mean. I don’t even know what that means), and Russell Wong.

Also in limited release are Cold Weather opening in New York City; The Other Woman, which is already available on VOD, opening in select cities; Dressed opening in New York City; and Waiting for Forever opening in select cities.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Sanctum – $15m NEW
  2. The King’s Speech – $11.5m (+4.4%)
  3. The Roommate – $10.9m NEW
  4. No Strings Attached – $8.7m (-45%)
  5. The Rite – $7.5m (-48.8%)
  6. True Grit – $7m (-6.4%)
  7. The Green Hornet – $6.6m (-40%)
  8. The Mechanic – $5.4m (-52.4%)
  9. Black Swan – $4.3m (-15%)
  10. The Dilemma – $3.2m (-42%)

This amounts to $80.1 million, but, hey, we’re a long way away from getting out the Winter graveyard. Those Oscar contenders are apparently keeping everything afloat. Have no fear, though. Justin Bieber is on the horizon, and he’s about to take the box office to new heights.

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend’s numbers.


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