Weekend Predictions (Feb. 13 to Feb. 16, 2009): 'Friday the 13th,' 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' and 'The International'

Featured Stories - on February 11, 2009 by Phil Contrino

A horror remake, a film about a compulsive shopper and an economic thriller will try to win the #1 spot this weekend.

Audiences across the country will certainly have a diverse set of options at their local movie theatres this weekend. Three totally different new wide releases will be vying for the #1 box office spot that is currently held by He's Just Not That Into You.

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Friday the 13th, which will open at more than 3,000 locations, is easily the favorite to topple Into You. The last movie in the legendary horror series was Friday the 13th Part 8 in 1989, which grossed a mediocre $14.3 million ($25.8 million when adjusted for inflation). In short, Jason is ready to receive the "reimagining" treatment. It's definitely worth noting that in 2007 MGM successful rebooted the Halloween franchise with the help of director Rob Zombie. That film opened in August, and it was able to bring in $26.4 million dollars during its debut frame. A second Halloween 2 is now set to hit theatres this August.

Thanks to the brand recognition that Jason carries, as well as the trust that producer Michael Bay has earned among mainstream audiences, Friday the 13th has the potential to open as strong as the films in the Saw series have. Saw V posted an opening weekend tally of $30.053 million this past October, and the highest opening weekend in the series belongs to 2006's Saw III with $33.6 million ($36.8 million when adjusted for inflation).

Online ticket sales for the film have also been strong. As of 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, one in four tickets sold on MovieTickets.com was for Friday the 13th. In addition, as of 3 p.m. ET the latest Jason flick accounted for 30% of Fandango's sales for the day.

“It’s unusual for a horror movie to see a big surge in advance ticketing so early in the week – but then again, I’m not surprised with this one, as Friday the 13th isn’t just any horror movie. Friday is a reliable franchise with a major fan following. It could appeal to fans of the original series of films, as well as newcomers who have never seen a 'Jason' movie," Rick Butler, COO of Fandango told B OXOFFICE.

With all that mind, expect Friday the 13th to bring in as much as $37 million over the three-day weekend. The horror flick will also see another $4-$5 million on Monday thanks to the President's Day holiday.

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While Confessions of a Shopaholic, which will land at around 2,400 locations, should post relatively solid numbers, it will most likely be overshadowed by He's Just Not That Into You for the coveted Valentine's Day crowds. Shopaholic appeals mainly to females audiences, where as Into You 's strong male ensemble makes it more enticing to guys who are taking their significant others to the movies.

Shopaholic 's star Isla Fischer is certainly untested as a box office draw considering that her claim to fame has been scene-stealing supporting turns in films such as Wedding Crashers. Shopaholic also ranked 4th, behind Into You and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, as of 3 p.m. ET on Fandago's sales list for the day, and it posted less than 7% of sales on MovieTickets.com as of 2 p.m. ET. Expect Confessions to bring in around $16 million during the three-day weekend, and it could sneak past $18.5 million by the end of Monday.

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Not to be forgotten is The International (around 2,300 locations), an economic thriller which stars Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Both Owen and Watts are only modest box office draws, and their best openings have always come thanks to the support of either more established box office successes or popular tentpoles. For instance, Owen starred opposite Denzel Washington in Inside Man which opened with $29 million in 2006 ($32 million when adjusted for inflation) and Naomi Watts had a supporting role in Peter Jackson's King Kong which opened to $50.1 million in 2005 ($56 million when adjusted for inflation).

Sony's marketing blitz for The International has been pretty strong, and the film's trailers promise some solid action thrills. Now that Taken will be in its third weekend of release, The International will be able to grab adult audiences that are interested in a new action flick. Look for The International to bring in around $11 million during the three-day weekend.

Check back tomorrow for B OXOFFICE.com's Top 10 Weekend Predictions.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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