Box Office Briefs: From Prada to The Mechanic

Box Office Briefs: From Prada to The Mechanic

Jan 28, 2011

While early January can often be a bummer at the multiplex as far as movie choices goes, this weekend will offer a variety of hot motion-picture action to ponder.

Like creepy movies about priest performing exorcisms? Well, Warner is opening Anthony Hopkins film The Rite in 2,985 theaters. Don’t look for critics to embrace your ticket-buying decision -- the movie is scoring a 16 on Rotten Tomatoes.

However, it’s predicted to lead the box office with a weekend bounty of around $18 million.

If you’re not into that, how about some good-old Charles Bronson-esque violence … minus the Charles Bronson?

Fledgling studio CBS Films went out to the film-festival circuit recently and bought itself a remake of the 1972 Bronson classic The Mechanic -- the film that made Bronson the poster-boy for stoic ‘70s violence, with the late mustached star, along with director Michael Winner, catapulting off of that film’s success and into the widely popular Death Wish franchise.

I remember lining up VHS boxes of Bronson movies when I worked at Tower Video as a teenager. All of ‘em -- about a dozen -- had Bronson holding a large hand gun.

Word to ‘70s street toughs: don’t mess.

Jason Statham will play the role of Bronson’s meticulously professional hit man in CBS’ Mechanic, with Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) taking on the turncoat apprentice that was originally played by Jan Michael Vincent.

CBS Films predicts it’ll make about $8 million on the film this weekend and finish in the middle of the pack, but returns could be higher.

While Warner and CBS are targeting males young and old, Lionsgate is going after young females -- specifically, young Latino women -- with the limited release of From Prada to Nada.

Premiering in 256 U.S. theaters Friday, the comedy stars Wilmer Valderrama, and is a genre sign of things to come from Lionsgate, which is using the unrated, low-budget (like, $3.5 million low) film to kick off its new Latin-market label, Panelion Films.

Meanwhile, with The King’s Speech collecting 12 Academy Award nominations earlier in the week, The Weinstein Company is doubling the number of theaters the Colin Firth film is in to nearly 2,500 and could see the movie finish as high as second place during the weekend box-office derby.

Fox Searchlight is also Danny Boyle’s Best Picture nominee 127 Hours, bringing it back out to 916 locations.

Finally, Roadside Attractions will formally premiere Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful in 57 locations Friday. The film – which has garnered Best Foreign Film and Best Actor (Javier Bardem) nominations from the Academy – had a limited start last month in order to qualify for the Oscars.

Here’s how we’re predicting the top 10 to shake out this weekend at the box office:

The Rite We say: $16.0M
No Strings Attached We say: $12.0M
The King’s Speech We say: $11.0M
The Green Hornet We say: $10.5M
The Mechanic We say: $8.5M
True Grit We say: $7.5M
Black Swan We say: $6.0M
The Dilemma We say: $5.5M
The Fighter We say: $4.5M
Yogi Bear We say: $2.5M

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