The Box Office goes to… who? An Oscar Week Reject Report

Welcome to a special Oscar Week edition of the Reject Report. Actually, there’s nothing special about it, it’s just the usual predictions. These releases don’t look like Oscar winners, either, although there are a few Oscar winners starring in Vantage Point, one of four new movies we will preview this week. Plus, we have the long-awaited expanded release of U2 3D. So let’s get right to it.

Vantage Point stars Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Zoe Saldana, Oscar-nominated actress Sigourney Weaver, and Oscar-winning actors Forest Whitaker and William Hurt in a political thriller about the attempted assassination of the President of the United States. And there are eight different people who witness it, each with a different vantage point. Hence, the name of the movie. William Hurt plays the President, and if we believe the trailers he may be in hiding while all this mayhem is going on. There’s bombs going off and a few car chases, so the James Bond-type people should be attracted to this movie.

The trailers for this flick have been going nonstop at the local multiplexes for months on end, and I was expecting the box office would be big as a result. But I am hearing people panning this movie already, and a lot of people are predicting this will only make about $20 million. So I am going to have to say this movie will only make around $22 million this weekend, not a blockbuster performance by any stretch.

Witless Protection is the latest movie to star Larry the Cable Guy. He plays a small-town sheriff in Mississippi who rushes to stop two men from apparently kidnapping a woman. As it turns out, these two guys are with the FBI and looking to deliver this witness to Chicago to testify in a big trial, so Larry lets them go. The sheriff later finds out these two are on the take and out to kill her. Ivana Milicevic plays the witness, and Yaphet Kotto, Peter Stormare, Joe Mantegna and Razzie-award-winning actress Jenny McCarthy are in the cast.

Jenny McCarthy!! Usually her presence in a movie is a sure sign the picture is a complete pile of junk. The way I see it, whenever Jenny McCarthy or Carmen Electra are in a movie, it’s a sure sign of trouble — which is too bad, because I love these two gorgeous pinup babes. But the biggest sign of trouble for this flick is the fact Larry the Cable Guy is associated with it. Guys, if you’re going to make a redneck movie, at least make an honest attempt, at least try!! These guys ain’t even trying from the looks of things. I understand this movie wasn’t even screened for critics — a sure sign of doom.

I give this one $4 million and I am being generous. I don’t even think it will be in the Top Ten this weekend. So there you go.

Charlie Bartlett is yet another quirky teen movie. In it we have Charlie Bartlett, played by Anton Yelchin. He’s one of these noncomformist-type rich kids who’s been booted out of every private school imaginable, and he ends up at this public high school. Classic fish out of water tale. But Bartlett finds a way to make friends and influence people: he anoints himself the class psychologist, giving advice to all his classmates. And boy, do these kids need advice, because high school SUCKS and everyone is DEPRESSED. Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis are also in the cast.

In this Dr. Phil age I think Charlie Bartlett will find an audience. I say $4.5 million, a bit more than Witless Protection. This will be something because Charlie Bartlett is only in 1112 theaters while Witless Protection is in 1,333. But Charlie Bartlett looks like it’s at least trying to be an intelligent movie. Witless Protection sort of announces itself to be a witless movie, just by looking at the title.

Be Kind, Rewind stars Jack Black and Mos Def in a movie set at a Passaic, New Jersey video store. For some reason Jack Black’s brain becomes magnetized and he comes into his friend’s video store and accidentally erases every video in the place. The business is basically wiped right out. So what do these two do to try and save the business? They film “alternative versions” of these movies, featuring themselves trying to play the parts in Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2 and other movies . The scheme works! Business booms, and of course they get in trouble with the copyright police because of it. Danny Glover and Mia Farrow also star.

This movie played at the Sundance Film Festival and from the sounds of it could turn into a modern-day cult classic. It’s directed by Michel Gondry. This one should do good business in the 800 theaters it is in, as the die-hard film freaks will be seeking this one out. I predict $4.8 million for Be Kind, Rewind which, again, will be more than what Witless Protection will bring in.

Finally U2 3D expands to 678 theaters this week. This was supposed to have gone wide last week in North America, but the 3-D competition from Hannah Montana must have altered plans. That’s my theory, anyway. This is the film account of the U2 Vertigo concert tour that took place in 2006. It’s being shown on IMAX screens all over North America and has been in limited release since January.

As I say, Hannah Montana stole all of U2 3D’s thunder, so instead of a big monster “battle of the bands” here, what is likely to happen is that U2 3D is going to take in a more modest total somewhere around $3 million. Which is too bad, but that’s what happens when Hannah Montana goes wide before you do.

So here is what is likely to happen this weekend:

1 VANTAGE POINT — $22 million
2 JUMPER — $15 million
4 STEP UP 2 THE STREETS — $10 million
5 FOOL’S GOLD — $7.5 million
6 DEFINITELY, MAYBE — $6 million
8 BE KIND, REWIND — $4.8 million
9 JUNO — $4.7 million
10 CHARLIE BARTLETT — $4.5 million

There you have it! Another typical, witless edition of the Reject Report. See you after Oscar Sunday with the final totals for the weekend.

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