UPDATED: Weekend Estimates: 'Inglourious Basterds' and 'District 9'

Featured Stories - on August 22, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds will easily dethrone District 9 at the box office this weekend.

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Saturday Morning Update (9:55 a.m. PT) According to B OXOFFICE.com’s Early Weekend Estimates, Inglourious Basterds is on pace to debut above expectations and will easily win this weekend’s box office race with $34 million. District 9 will fall to second place with $18 million. Holdovers G.I. Joe, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Julie & Julia will round out the top five. Click here for the full report.

Thursday Afternoon Update (4:55 p.m. PT): With growing pre-sales, Inglourious Basterds should be able to top District 9 over the weekend. District 9 has weakened a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday and will only be adding one additional location this weekend. As a result, expect Inglourious Basterds to win the weekend race between the two with a bit more breathing room.

With this weekend's other three wide releases not likely to excite moviegoers, look for most holdovers to experience stronger holds this weekend.

Check out our final weekend predictions in the table below.

Weekend Predictions: August 21 to August 23, 2009
Title Gross (M) Cume (M) Locations Inc./Dec.
1 Inglourious Basterds $25.0 $25.0 3,165 New
2 District 9 $21.0 $75.5 3,050 +1
3 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $11.8 $119.8 3,953 -54
4 The Time Traveler's Wife $10.8 $38.5 2,988 0
5 Shorts $8.5 $8.5 3,105 New
6 Julie & Julia $8.3 $58.5 2,463 +109
7 G-Force $4.8 $107.8 2,561 -504
8 Post Grad $4.0 $4.0 1,958 NEW
9 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $3.3 $290.0 1,936 -835
10 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard $3.1 $11.7 1,849 +11

Thursday Morning Update (10:44 a.m. PT): As of 9 a.m. PT, Fandango.com is reporting that Inglourious Basterds is responsible for 31% of daily sales, while District 9 accounts for 10%.

Wednesday Afternoon Update: The Weinstein Company will try to silence talk of their financial woes this weekend with Inglorious Basterds, a dark comedy about World War II that writer/director Quentin Tarantino has been developing for years. Meanwhile, Post Grad, Shorts and X Games 3D: The Movie will be opening in wide release. All of these new films will have to compete with the fact that District 9 is winning over audiences across the country and is headed for a very profitable sophomore frame.

Because of its subject matter and an unconventional tone, Basterds represents something of a tough sell. The film's marketing campaign has wisely played up the presence of Brad Pitt over the rest of the ensemble cast, which also includes Mike Myers. Yet even though Pitt is one of the most famous movie stars in the world, he still has a tough time getting audiences to show up for his more radical movie choices. The Assassination of Jesse James, Babel, Snatch and Fight Club all failed to perform well in theaters despite Pitt's presence. Basterds certainly has more in common with those films than it does with other Pitt successes such as the Ocean's trilogy and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

As of Noon P.T., MovieTickets.com is reporting that Basterds leads daily sales with 19 percent, compared to 11 percent for D9. Fandango.com is reporting that as of 11 a.m. P.T., Basterds is responsible for 12 percent of sales, while D9 boasts an impressive 29 percent.

The overall marketing blitz for Basterds has been incredibly strong and television spots are currently saturating the airwaves. Basterds should manage a debut haul of around $23 million.

D9 is one of the summer's biggest surprises. Without any major stars or the advantage of being part of an established franchise, D9 has managed to find a very sizable audience. Word of mouth is bound to be incredibly strong, which means that D9 won't suffer the kind of sophomore slump that many summer flicks do. Expect that sci-fi pic to grab around $22 million. If Basterds disappoints, D9 could easily stay on top of the box office.

Shorts, the latest PG-rated adventure from Robert Rodriguez, is set to open at more than 3,000 locations this weekend. Rodriquez has found immense success with his Spy Kids franchise and Warner Bros. will try to tap into that same audience with Shorts. Since two R-rated films will finish on top of the box office this weekend there's certainly room down the line for a film that will appeal to families. However, Warner Bros. has not been pushing the flick too hard and general awareness may suffer as a result. Shorts could end up with $8.5 million during its debut frame.

Alexis Bledel will try to take the success she has found with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films and use it to help Post Grad open with respectable weekend numbers from 1,900 or so engagements. Just last weekend, rising starlet Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical 3: Senior Year fame similarly tried to venture out on her own with Bandslam. The film landed with a thud, managing only $2.2 million. Bledel's effort may fare slightly better with around $4 million this weekend.

X Games 3D: The Movie will try to capitalize on the 3D revolution this weekend when it opens at around 1,200 locations. The film is being billed as a limited engagement, which gives the release an immediacy that is bound to boost sales. Expect the doc to grab around $2 million this weekend.

Check back tomorrow for our Top 10 predictions as well as official locations counts.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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