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Whisper Numbers: Moviegoers celebrate the holiday with Chipmunks and Holmes.

With Christmas Day falling on a Friday this year, the holiday weekend presents an opportunity for a huge haul at the box office.  Five new wide releases vie for the attention of moviegoers, but can any of them dethrone last weekend’s top film Avatar [AVATR]?

James Cameron [JCAME] wowed audiences with a film unlike anything that has ever been made.  Avatar exceeded even the highest expectations by creating another world using the latest CGI that looks just like the real thing.  The phenomenal word of mouth has turned Avatar into a must-see event in 3D, even at the higher price point.  The second weekend drop-off should be minimal as Avatar stands to retain the pole position with about $70 million.

Warner Bros. has revived one of the 20th Century’s most popular cinematic heroes, Sherlock Holmes [SHOLM], for the 21st Century starring Robert Downey Jr. [RDOWN] as the 19th Century detective.  Directed by Guy Ritchie [GRITC], the PG-13 rated action comedy is aimed at the broad general audience.   With a strong marketing push generating good buzz, Holmes could take home around $45 million from 3626 theaters.

When Alvin and the Chipmunks cracked open $44.3 million two years ago, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel [ALVN2] was a no-brainer.  Kids and their parents can’t get enough of the singing rodents with high-pitched voices.  Opening on Wednesday to take advantage of kids out of school, The Squeakuel hauled in $18.8 million to beat out Avatar.  With no other competitive family film, the Chipmunks should pile up $42 million during the weekend from 3656 locations.

Meryl Streep [MSTRE] and director Nancy Meyers [NMEYE] join forces for It’s Complicated [CMPLC].  Although reviews have been mixed on the R-rated comedy, the two talents are hugely popular with older women, a demographic often ignored by Hollywood.  Opening in 2886 theaters, It’s Complicated may unwrap $25 million.

Two award contenders expand into wide release this Christmas weekend.  The topical drama Up in the Air [UPAIR] has been one of the best reviewed films of the year grossing over $10 million in three weeks of limited release.  Flying into 1895 locations, the George Clooney [GCLOO] vehicle could bring in around $11 million. Even with an all-star cast, the musical Nine [NINE] may be overlooked by moviegoers.  Without a must-see factor, the Weinstein release could tally $8 million from 1412 venues.

 

 



Tag(s): AVATR, JCAME, SHOLM, RDOWN, GRITC, ALVN2, MSTRE, NMEYE, CMPLC, UPAIR, GCLOO, NINE

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By Boc Office Whisperer on Thursday, December 24, 2009 @ 03:15 PM 4992 views

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