Early Weekend Predictions: 'I Love You, Man,' 'Knowing' and 'Duplicity'

Featured Stories - on March 18, 2009 by Phil Contrino

The latest "bromantic" comedy should have no problem topping new films from Nicolas Cage and Julia Roberts.

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It's going to be a battle between the rising stars and the falling stars at the box office this weekend.

Paul Rudd and Jason Segel headline I Love You, Man, the latest "bromantic" comedy to hit theatres. Both Rudd and Segel had a huge year in 2008, which helped catapult them from supporting players to valid leading men. Rudd teamed with Sean William Scott and director David Wain for Role Models, which grossed an impressive $67 million domestically despite being in theatres at the same time as such juggernauts as Quantum of Solace, Bolt, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Twilight. Earlier in the year, Segel's Forgetting Sarah Marshall brought in $63.2 million, which made it one of the sleeper hits of Spring 2008.

With all that increased visibility, I Love You, Man is going to be a big film for both actors. While official location counts won't be released until tomorrow, Man is set to open at around 2,500 spots. Expect the DreamWorks comedy to bring in as much as $24.5 million during its debut frame.

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Out of all the new wide releases this weekend, Knowing is slated to open at the most locations with around 3,000. Still, Nicolas Cage's box office clout is certainly slipping. Take away the safety of Disney's National Treasure franchise and as well as the built-in audience of Ghost Rider and his films have not been performing well at all. 2008's Bangkok Dangerous landed with a thud last September before wrapping its domestic theatrical run with $15 million. Other recent Cage duds include 2007's Next which grossed $18.2 million ($19 million when adjusted for inflation) and 2006's The Wicker Man which raked in $23.7 million ($26 million when adjusted for inflation). Although, Knowing is rated PG-13, which means that it could appeal to teenage audiences that are not old enough to catch Man. Expect Knowing to give a Cage a much needed boost. The thriller could post a solid opening weekend haul of as much as $16 million.

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Universal will release Duplicity this week at more than 2,400 locations. The caper/romcom boasts a star paring of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, which means that will appeal to adult audiences that aren't interested in the juvenile humor of Man. Unfortunately, many industry prognosticators are questioning whether or not Julia Roberts is still a box office draw. Her last film appearance was in Charlie Wilson's War, which grossed a relatively solid $66.7 million domestically. If her fans rush out to see Duplicity during its opening weekend, then it could post surprisingly strong numbers. As it stands now, the film should land somewhere close to the $15 million mark.

Disney's Race to Witch Mountain should deliver strong numbers during its second frame. Mountain still represents the newest choice for family audiences and it should lose around 45% of its patrons from last weekend. If all goes well, the sci-fi flick could hould snag around $14 million.

Check back tomorrow for our full top 10 predictions as well as official location counts.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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