UPDATED: Weekend Predictions: 'Race to Witch Mountain,' 'The Last House on the Left' and 'Miss March'

Featured Stories - on March 12, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Some radically different new films will try to knock Watchmen out of the top spot at the box office this weekend.

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After posting a mediocre opening haul, Watchmen will have to defend its box office crown against three newcomers this weekend: Race to Witch Mountain, The Last House on the Left and Miss March.

Disney's Race to Witch Mountain easily has the best shot at grabbing the top spot. The film represents another starring vehicle for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who over the past several years has been successfully building up his box office clout. 2007's The Game Plan, which was also a Disney release, opened to nearly $23 million on its way to a $90.7 million domestic haul. Johnson's profile also received a boost from his supporting turn in last summer's Get Smart, which grossed $130.3 million domestically.

Considering that recently-released family films such as Coraline, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience are trailing off, Witch Mountain will represent a viable new choice for incredibly profitable family audiences.

March 13 to March 15, 2009 Weekend Predictions
Title Gross (M) Cume (M) Locations Inc./Dec.
1 Race to Witch Mountain $26.0 $26.0 3,187 New
2 Watchmen $20.0 $88.2 3,611 0
3 The Last House on the Left $16.0 $16.0 2,401 New
4 Miss March $6.0 $6.0 1,742 New
5 Taken $5.3 $125.5 2,858 -158
6 Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail $4.2 $82.5 2,203 -152
7 Slumdog Millionaire $4.0 $131.5 2,578 -321
8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $2.5 $137.1 2,281 -277
9 He's Just Not That Into You $2.4 $88.4 1,890 -555
10 Coraline $2.3 $68.8 1,768 -191

Universal's The Last House on the Left holds the distinct disadvantage of coming on the heels of The Uninvited, The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Friday the 13th. If audiences don't feel too overwhelmed by the recent rush of horror flicks, then House on the Left could could be a modest success. It will need to open big considering that horror films tend to follow considerably after their debut weekend.

After winning a Best Picture Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Searchlight will be slumming it a little with the release of the R-rated comedy Miss March. March is receiving only a modest theatrical push, which will hinder it from raking in some real money. Still, Fox Searchlight has given March a relatively strong marketing blitz with an emphasis on television ads.

Now that die-hard fans have seen it, Watchmen will struggle to maintain its audience and it should fall at least 60% during its sophomore frame. The film will be lucky to make it past the $90 million mark this weekend. Warner Bros. has to be more than a little bummed that Watchmen will only finish up with about $115-$120 million before it exits theatres.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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