‘Vantage’ has box office advantage

Other new releases lack big buzz

Sony’s ensemble political thriller “Vantage Point” is expected to provide most of the mojo at the weekend box office among the four new major releases. Directed by Pete Travis, it bows in 3,149 theaters.

Other newbies don’t seem to be generating much heat.

New Line’s Jack Black offbeat comedy “Be Kind Rewind,” directed by Michel Gondry, opens in 808 runs; MGM’s R-rated teen dramedy “Charlie Bartlett,” from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, bows in 1,112; and Lionsgate’s Larry the Cable Guy laffer “Witless Protection” opens in 1,333.

On the more limited front, the film biz will be looking to see how National Geographic’s concert film “U2 3D” does as it goes nationwide after four weeks in limited release. It’s the second 3-D concert pic in the market after Disney’s runaway hit “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour.”

“U2 3D,” with a gross of $3.7 million through Feb. 15, will unspool in 678 theaters.

“Vantage Point” is sparking interest among males over 25, although it has picked up traction among women and younger men as well.

Movie, about an attempted presidential assassination told from several different perspectives, stars Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt.

“Charlie Bartlett,” about a rich teenager who becomes the unofficial, drug-dispensing therapist at his new high school, has an inherent challenge in that it is rated R, making it more difficult for younger teens to see.

Directed by Jon Poll, “Bartlett” stars Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis.

Kimmel and MGM had pushed back the release of “Bartlett” several times.

Expectations are that “Vantage Point” B.O. could hit $20 million. The other three titles are predicted to see box office in the high- to mid-single digits. That gives holdovers, including Fox’s “Jumper,” a strong shot at staying high up on the box office chart.

“Rewind,” also starring Mos Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow, follows a man who inadvertently erases every videotape in his friend’s store. The two friends decide to remake the movies, including “Back to the Future,” “The Lion King” and “Robocop.” Gondry penned the script.

Expectations are understated for “Witless Protection,” which also stars Jenny McCarthy. Directed and written by Charles Robert Carner, pic follows a small-town Southern sheriff who believes he’s witnessing a kidnapping and rushes to the woman’s rescue.

Elsewhere on the specialty front, Magnolia bows horror title “The Signal” in 175 theaters, while IFC bows French romantic drama “The Duchess of Langeais” in New York and L.A.

Around the world

Overseas, “Jumper” should easily rack up its second straight win for Fox. The sci-fier, which went day-and-date in 30 markets last weekend, has already passed $30 million and goes into Belgium, France, Scandinavia and Thailand.

Sony’s going day-and-date with “Vantage Point” in half a dozen markets, including Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Ukraine. The political thriller will expand into major markets next weekend with launches in Germany, Italy, South Korea and Spain and move into Japan and the U.K. during the following frame.

“Jumper” will see competition from Disney’s sturdy sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which finished third last weekend and has generated more than $204 million in foreign coin. “Secrets” should eclipse its domestic cume of $212 million during this frame.

Universal’s “Atonement,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “No Country for Old Men” will all expand in conjunction with Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremonies. “Atonement,” which has topped $64 million internationally, goes to Denmark and South Korea; “War” launches in Spain with $33 million banked overseas; and “No Country” opens in Italy and Thailand with $32 million in offshore coin.

Other Oscar contenders will also go wider, with “There Will Be Blood” launching in Belgium, Mexico and Scandinavia; “Juno” opening in Brazil and Hong Kong; and “Sweeney Todd” debuting in Germany and Poland. “Sweeney” has shown decent overseas traction with more than $70 million midway through its run.

Other launches include “The Bucket List” in Australia and Taiwan, “Fool’s Gold” in Mexico, “Rambo” in Italy and local comedy “Wild Bunch 5” in Germany.

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