'Cycle films to gun for No. 1
Disney will angle for its motorcycle ensembler “Wild Hogs” to run over Sony’s B.O. champ “Ghost Rider” this weekend as the Mouse House guns “Hogs” into 3,287 theaters.Paramount, meanwhile, is double dipping over the frame by sending out David Fincher’s serial killer drama “Zodiac” and “Black Snake Moan,” from the studio’s specialty division Paramount Vantage. Critically maligned, yet audience-endorsed holdover “Ghost” has ridden to consecutive No. 1 finishes at both the domestic and foreign B.O., and will remain a force to be reckoned with, likely winning the overseas title hands down. The Nicolas Cage vehicle has already peeled off $82.2 million in just two weeks of release. But while “Hogs” — starring John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen and William H. Macy — seems like a macho pic made for gearhead guys, it is actually tracking more strongly with women, which could put it over the top as a No. 1. “Zodiac,” meanwhile, which has a running time of nearly 160 minutes, will cut into more than 2,300 locations, while “Snake,” from “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer, slithers into 1,252. Par brass isn’t concerned that the two pics will butt heads. Studio sees “Zodiac” as a review-driven pic for the over-25 crowd and “Snake” as appealing to a core African-American demo, and crossing over to younger auds. New Line’s Jim Carrey pic “The Number 23″ is another holdover that will look to make up some ground this weekend. Also hitting theaters in more limited release will be New Line’s teen comedy “Full of It,” which rolls out on 15 screens. MGM, meanwhile, expands its “Two Weeks” to 12, and IFC opens “Wild Tigers I Have Known” on 1. On the foreign front, “Ghost Rider” looks likely to win its third straight weekend, with openings in Brazil, Japan and the U.K. With no other offerings for action fans, “Rider” has grossed more than $42 million in 43 foreign markets and $123 million worldwide as of Wednesday. Paramount will expand “Dreamgirls” into Belgium, France and Taiwan, as the musical attempts to take advantage of Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar win. Foreign grosses have gone past $30 million, and the pic’s held up nicely in Japan, with more than $5 million in its first two weeks. Fox should see some bump in biz for “The Last King of Scotland,” which has topped $16 million overseas, thanks to Forest Whitaker’s Oscar. But other Oscar winners such as “The Departed” ($148 million foreign), “The Queen” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” have mostly completed their foreign runs. Fox’s “Night at the Museum” will remain a box office draw, with foreign cume topping $271 million and the worldwide total at $512 million as of Wednesday. Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” will continue to mint money overseas with launches in Indonesia, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan. Pic has grossed more than $116 million abroad and $282 million worldwide as of Wednesday. Other launches will include “Notes on a Scandal” into Brazil and France, “Borat” into Italy, “The Devil Wears Prada” into China, “Freedom Writers” into Mexico and the U.K. and “Music and Lyrics” into Brazil and South Korea. BVI won’t launch “Wild Hogs” overseas until next weekend in Australia, and Warner’s is holding off on any day-and-date foreign launches for “Zodiac.” (Dave McNary in Hollywood contributed to this report.)
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