In a last big rush before the summer, a crowded field of five medium- to small-budgeted movies will unspool this weekend.
The contenders are Paramount’s “Mean Girls,” New Line’s “Laws of Attraction,” Lions Gate’s “Godsend,” DreamWorks’ “Envy” and Film Foundry’s “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”
“Laws” producer David Friendly said: “Nine months ago when we picked this date, it was clear. Now people are trying to get their movies in before the big summer avalanche hits.”
Despite the crush of new competition, last week’s top pic “Man on Fire” looks to have a good shot at staying on top.
Denzel Washington’s recent pics have dropped 40%-45% on their second weekend. If that pattern holds, New Regency and 20th Century Fox’s “Man” is likely to do business in the mid-teens this weekend after opening with $22.7 million.
“Mean Girls,” starring Lindsay Lohan and scripted by “Saturday Night Live’s” Tina Fey, is expected to post the strongest numbers among the week’s newcomers. Pic could give Revolution and Sony’s Jennifer Garner starrer “13 Going on 30” stiff competition for filmgoing girls in the latter’s sophomore session. Par will unspool the PG-13-rated “Mean Girls” in 2,839 locations.
Sony distrib prexy Rory Bruer said, “Ours is establishing itself and continuing to broaden” but added that “Mean Girls” does have “a good shot at being No. 1.”
New Line will release “Laws of Attraction,” a legal love story starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore, in 2,449 theaters. Though very different in subject matter than “Man on Fire,” PG-13-rated “Laws” will likely appeal to older females, who, according to exit surveys, made up a big portion of the “Man” aud.
Tracking at about the same level as “Laws” is Lions Gate’s PG-13-rated cloning thriller “Godsend,” starring Robert De Niro, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Greg Kinnear. It will debut in 2,323 theaters. Execs at Lions Gate expect the pic to debut in the mid- single digits.
Sour grapes laffer “Envy,” which will open in 2,445 locations, is not expected to match the recent openings of its two stars, Jack Black and Ben Stiller. The last two pics starring the prolific Stiller, “Along Came Polly” and “Starsky & Hutch,” opened above $25 million. Black’s last pic, “The School of Rock,” debuted to $19.6 million last October.
“Bobby Jones,” starring Jim Caviezel, is the first release from fledgling distrib Film Foundry and centers on the life story of the golf pro. Distrib is hoping its star’s success playing Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ” will pick up business for the $20 million pic; Foundry is marketing “Bobby Jones” with the tagline “His passion made him a legend.” Jones tees off from 1,332 locations.
Among the weekend’s exclusive openings is Monty Python Biblical spoof “The Life of Brian,” which Rainbow is re-releasing on four screens in Gotham and L.A.