The Reject ReportThat’s right. It’s a battle in here sometimes. Two or three or maybe even four films enter. One film leaves. Which film is it going to be this weekend? The science fiction endorsement for the Marines? The Twilight-esque take on a werewolf classic?

The Disney computer animated film from the guy who directed 2002’s The Time Machine. Hint: it’s not gonna be that last one. They’re all in here, and they’ve taken their corners. It’s time to see who’s going to knock some aliens out of the sky and who’s going to be wearing a hood of shame.

BIG HITTERS

Alien invasion movies are still on a pretty broad radar when it comes to audience demographic. Unless it’s something billed more towards the horror crowd (Skyline and 2005’s The Invasion didn’t perform too well), the alien invasion movie is a sure-fire key to at least moderate success at the box office. With Battle: Los Angeles, it looks like we might have another winner. It’s being billed as Independence Day meets Black Hawk Down, and that – at least the latter half of that equation – is sure to whet a lot of people’s appetites. No, it doesn’t have a Will Smith to star power it past $50 million or even $40 million. Aaron Eckhart is the biggest star here, and he isn’t exactly a $20-million player despite The Dark Knight‘s success. 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still opened to $30.4 million. The added action might sprout a couple of million in addition to that, but that is about where Battle: Los Angeles is sure to land this weekend.

It’s just about the coolest trailer to come along all year. Check out the action and the invasion of the Battle: Los Angeles trailer right here:

Unlike the alien invasion movie, the werewolf movie isn’t exactly a win/win every time it bears its claws. See what I did there? It’s not like the fanaticism of the zombie or vampire movies has been able to carry over to the poor doggies. Red Riding Hood isn’t guaranteed to be a hit regardless of how much they’re pimping the Twilight appeal from it. Of course, the most successful werewolf movies have been the latter two films of the Twilight saga, but underneath that the highest domestic grossing film of this sub-genre is 1994’s Wolf with $65 million. Last year’s The Wolfman opened to $31.4 million but then quickly subsided. The Twilight element will guarantee it a high teens opening, but Red Riding Hood will have to pull some serious lady luck in order to cross the $20-million barrier this weekend.

Hey, it’s Gary Oldman in another movie he seems contractually obligated to appear in. It’s the Red Riding Hood trailer. Feast on it:

Also opening is Disney’s Mars Needs Moms. They just had Gnomeo and Juliet hit relatively well, but that isn’t stopping them from trying to hit again and again in rapid succession. That whole “quality over quantity” edict Disney set down a few years ago has quickly dissipated. Having said that, they’re still making hits. Mars Needs Moms, despite opening on more screens than any film this weekend, will likely come out on the bottom of the new release totem pole. This isn’t Wall*E. It’s not even Lilo & Stitch. Anyone remember Planet 51? No, neither do I. Mars Needs Moms could realistically hit in the high teens alongside Red Riding Hood. There’s no way it will reach higher.

FAMILIARITIES

Rango was the big winner last weekend, and it will more than likely be #2 this weekend behind Battle: Los Angeles. It is sure to give the sci-fi actioner a run for its box office money. Expect a percentage drop of less than 30%. This might be a little optimistic, but the excellent buzz it is getting is sure to translate into more earned dollars. Rango could easily top $70 million in total domestic sales this weekend, well on its way to matching its $135-million budget.

LITTLE OPENERS

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre evidently goes under the atmospheric horror lens with Cary Fukunaga’s latest film. That’s certainly the feel the film’s trailer is going for including Goblin’s Suspiria theme in it. It stars Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, and Mia Wasikowska in the titular role. It opens this weekend in New York and L.A.

Here’s that very trailer. Horror fans will be having a hard time getting the theme out of their head after this. Check out the trailer for Jane Eyre right here:

Also opening in limited release are Black Death opening in New York, L.A, and Minneapolis as well as VOD; Kill the Irishman opening in New York, L.A. and Cleveland; Certified Copy opening in New York; Monogamy opening in select cities; Elektra Luxx also opening in select cities; I Am opening in New York and L.A.; 3 Backyards opening in New York City; and Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula opening in select cities.

Here’s is how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Battle: Los Angeles – $32.2m NEW
  2. Rango – $27.9m (-26.5%)
  3. Red Riding Hood – $19.8m NEW
  4. Mars Needs Moms – $18.8m NEW
  5. The Adjustment Bureau – $12.4m (-41%)
  6. Hall Pass – $5.2m (-40%)
  7. The King’s Speech – $4.8m (-21.2%)
  8. Gnomeo and Juliet – $4.1m (-42.8%)
  9. Beastly – $3.7m (-62%)
  10. Just Go With It – $3.7 (-40.7%)

That comes out to about $132.9 million for the weekend. That’s still up from even last weekend when Rango opened huge. Sure, some of these numbers might end up being puffed out a bit. Mars Needs Moms and/or Red Riding Hood might actually tank. Who knows if Battle: Los Angeles can push through once the word of mouth gets out. Early indications are that it’s not that good. The light and dark surrealism of Rango could have divided audiences more than anticipated. When all is said and done, it’s still kind of a crap shoot with the box office. We just keep giving out our hard-earned dollars and hoping Hollywood knows what they’re doing with our money.

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

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