The Reject Report: October 10 Box Office

The Reject Report Express continues its journey through 2008!! I gotta say, the movies have been rolling out fast and furious this fall — one movie after another. I don’t know why these studios decided to release all their movies all at once, but here they are. The good news is that a few of these have looked pretty good. Not all of them, but a few.

There are four new wide releases on tap this week at the theaters, and we’ll be previewing those here at The Reject Report. Among the offerings is Body of Lies, the Leo DiCaprio-Russell Crowe action adventure drama; The Express, a football movie about the life of Ernie Davis; Quarantine, and City of Ember. Plus, historical drama The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley, is expanding wide. So it’s a hefty contingent of new movies at the theaters this weekend, just like a week ago.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of LiesWe begin with Body of Lies, directed by Ridley Scott and based on the novel by David Ignatius. In the promos the tag line for this flick is “trust no one — deceive everyone”. It’s about a CIA operative named Roger Ferris, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is out to save the world by chasing after a terrorist leader based out of Jordan. Ferris wants to infiltrate this operation from within, but to do so needs the help of CIA operative Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) and the head of Jordanian intelligence (Mark Strong). The question is: can Ferris trust these folks?

Seems to me this is one of these movies that is being rolled out in anticipation of the big James Bond movie, to lure in the people who are all salivating and waiting for James Bond. I think this has enough star power to do fairly good business at the box office, so I am predicting $25 million for Body of Lies, which rolls out in 2,700 theaters this weekend.

Dennis Quaid in The ExpressNext is The Express, based on the inspiring story of the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, Syracuse football star Ernie Davis. The cast includes Rob Brown as Davis, Dennis Quaid as the coach, Darrin Dewitt Henson as Jim Brown, and Charles S. Dutton as Pops.

Now here is the issue I have. There have been so many football movies recently that I cannot keep up with them, and none of them have done all that well. This movie strikes me as being similar to all these other football movies that have rolled out over the last couple of years, and so this strikes me as being the kind of movie that will only bring in $10 or $11 million bucks. So that is my prediction: $11 million bucks for The Express. By the way, it rolls out on 2,800 screens which is the most of any new wide release this weekend.

Jennifer Carpenter in QuarantineThe third movie we’ll be previewing is Quarantine, which is not to be confused with Blindness which was also about a quarantine. This flick is a horror movie remake of the Spanish movie REC. Jennifer Carpenter stars as a television reporter who chases a 911 call to an apartment building where police officers have responded to screams coming from there. Turns out a woman living in there has been infected with a disease that turns these victims into savages. And what ends up happening is the building ends up quarantined, so this news videotape ends up being the only documentation of what happened there.

Fun stuff. This movie rolls out on 2,400 screens and I think it should do almost as much business as The Express. I think $10.5 million is the likely take for Quarantine.

City of EmberThe last of the new releases is from Walden Media: City of Ember, based on the book by Jeanne Duprau. The movie stars Bill Murray, who has not had that good a time lately. He’s in the headlines because of his messy, ugly divorce, and so there have been news stories about that. (Good publicity, then, for this movie.) The story revolves around the city of Ember, an underground city designed to be the last refuge for the human race. The problem is the lights are starting to flicker and it’s up to a couple of kids to unlock the ancient mysteries associated with the place in order to save the people there before it’s too late.

This rolls out in about 2,000 theaters and looks to me like the type of movie that will do about $7 million in business. I mean, this isn’t exactly Lord of the Rings we are talking about here. It’s more modest than that from the looks of it, so I think it’ll probably make $7 mil.

Keira Knightley and Hayley Atwell in The DuchessSo those are the four new wide releases. The last movie we’ll preview is The Duchess, which is going wide into 1,200 theaters. It stars Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Charlotte Rampling, and is based on Amanda Foreman’s biography of the 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. And of course she had a lot of affairs and other juicy stuff. It’s not in a lot of theaters which leads me to think it’ll probably do about $3.5 million in business.

Now, I am looking at my own predictions and I am just shaking my head. Here I am predicting these movies to do $7 million or even $10 million in business when last week Blindness tanked at $2 million and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People tanked even worse at $1.4 million. So I’m getting ready to be wrong again. The likely order of finish:

1. Body of Lies $25 million
2. Beverly Hills Chihuahua $16 million
3. The Express $11 million
4. Quarantine $10.5 million
5. Eagle Eye
$10 million
6. City of Ember
$7 million
7. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist $6.8 million
8. Nights in Rodanthe $4 million
9. Appaloosa $3.7 million
10. The Duchess $3.5 million

So there you have it! Back at weekend’s end when we’ll count the loot and see how far off my predictions are, again, here at the Reject Report.


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