Can Kevin Smith's latest comedy top the High School Musical 3 juggernaut this weekend?

Mainstream 'Porno'

on October 30, 2008 by Phil Contrino
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Once again, two radically different films are competing against each other for the #1 spot at the box office this weekend.

Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen have teamed up for the raunchy Zack and Miri Make a Porno and they will try to topple the G-rated High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

The Weinstein Co. has faced its share of marketing problems with Zack and Miri, considering that the film's original poster was rejected by the MPAA and the marketing team then chose to use one that featured stick figures instead of the faces of Rogen and co-star Elizabeth Banks.

Still, this past summer Seth Rogen was able to take Pineapple Express, a comedy about stoners, and bring in some mainstream success which means he's no stranger to films that are difficult to market. Express grossed $23.2 million during its opening weekend and its domestic haul now stands at $87.3 million.

Plus, the controversy surrounding the film hasn't stopped the trailers from playing in theatres, which means that audiences still attach Rogen's now extremely valuable face to the film. Expect Zack and Miri to land somewhere in the $18-$20 million range this weekend.

Since HSM3 is aimed at a totally different audience than Zack and Miri it has a chance at repeating in the #1 spot this weekend. While the film has fallen behind Saw V on a daily basis this week, that's probably due the fact that its target audiences doesn't go to the movies during the week, because, in all seriousness, their parents won't allow them to. If HSM3 can manage to drop only 50% or less from its $42 million opening-weekend haul then it could squeak past Zack and Miri. Of course, everything will depend on whether or not the film's obsessive fan base is up for repeat viewings, which means that HSM3 could finish with as low as $16-$17 million or as high as $22-$23 million.

The Haunting of Molly Hartley also opens wide this weekend at 2,652 locations and it will have to compete with Saw V for the horror-loving audience. Still, a lot of Saw V 's opening-weekend crowd will drop off during its second frame, which means that Hartley should post a respectable $9-10 million gross this weekend.

After opening at a select number of theatres last weekend, Changeling expands to 1,850 locations during its second frame and it should grab a solid $10-$11 million thanks to the drawing power of Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie.

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