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Three… two… one… fire! Welcome to what is sure to be another unpredictable weekend at the box office here at the Reject Report. Right now we have two new movies rolling out with big star power — The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 with Denzel Washington and John Travolta, and Imagine That starring Eddie Murphy. And they might both still end up possibly losing out to a 78-year old CGI cartoon character and a bunch of hungover guys.

Here at the Reject Report we are still a little bit hung over from last week’s big upset at the box office, when The Hangover beat everyone and managed to finish in first place ahead of Up with a haul of $45 million dollars after the final numbers came in. Since the weekend, they have been steadily winning night after night and look to be in pretty good shape to finish slightly ahead of Up again for that reason — probably in the $27 million range or even a little higher. The real question is whether either new movie this weekend can top that total. The problem is I just don’t detect a lot of enthusiasm for either new movie rolling out this weekend.

Imagine That is yet another Eddie Murphy comedy, where Murphy plays this hard-charging financial executive who is on a downward spiral to his career — but his career is rescued, thanks to his daughter’s imagination.

Uh, okay. The problem is that Eddie Murphy has this reputation by now of appearing in one junk movie after another, and that hurts him. A lot of people are going to look at the trailers and see that Eddie Murphy is in it, and automatically think Norbit. On the other hand, he’s also appeared in some really good material, like Dreamgirls and even The Nutty Professor, but he appears in enough junk to make the audience suspicious of everything he does. Oh, well. I predict only $12 million for Imagine That, mainly because I have a hard time figuring out who exactly wants to see this flick. I dunno if kids even want to see it.

Next is The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and in this summer filled so far with plenty of sequels and retreads of TV shows, we get… a remake. The original was released in 1974 and starred Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Jerry Stiller, and Martin Balsam. Pretty big names. But that was a very different era of moviemaking. Movies were tougher and grittier back then, plus you had all these disaster movies that were all the rage back then (Towering Inferno, the Airport movies, etc). — not so much of this superhero stuff, at least not in 1974.

Here, we have Denzel Washington playing the New York Transit Authority guy, while John Travolta plays the guy hijacking the New York 6 subway train along with a bunch of other armed men.

As I have said, there does not appear to be a big groundswell of enthusiasm out there for this flick. Having said that, I do believe there are a lot of people out there who want to see this type of movie — an action-filled thriller type of movie. And certainly Denzel and Travolta have their fans. This flick rolls out in just over 3,000 theaters, and my guess is that The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 will win the weekend — barely. I am predicting $28.5 million. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another situation like we had last weekend, where the winning movie ended up not being known until Monday.

The likely damages:

  1. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $28.5 million
  2. The Hangover $27 million
  3. Up $26.7 million
  4. Imagine That $12 million
  5. Land of the Lost $9 million
  6. Night at the Museum 2 $8.5 million
  7. Star Trek $5.9 million
  8. Terminator Salvation $5 million
  9. Drag Me to Hell $4.7 million
  10. Angels & Demons $3.7 million

Also — may I note there are about 800 sneak previews of The Proposal rolling out on Saturday night. That’s that movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock.

See you at the end of the weekend when we see if Pelham 1 2 3 manages to hold off the other flicks here at the Reject Report.


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