Will Churchgoers Flood Theaters This Week?
This may officially be the first weekend of the summer, but the summer is half over so far as Hollywood is concerned -- and it's uncertain how much longer younger moviegoers will be willing to tap their summer paychecks to see the latest blockbusters. This weekend will put the $200-million epic Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell, to the test. The movie is the most expensive comedy ever made. Universal has conservatively estimated that the film will do about $40 million, well below the $67.9 million that its predecessor, Bruce Almighty, took in in 2003. Universal, however, has been marketing the film heavily to churchgoers across the country, and they could prove to be a wild card at the box office. Analysts have been loath to challenge the studio's estimate, particularly inasmuch as their track record hasn't been particularly strong this summer. Last weekend, for example, they predicted that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer would likely take in about $30 million; it wound up taking in nearly twice that amount. Also opening this weekend is The Weinstein Co.'s 1408, based on a Stephen King story and starring John Cusack. Paramount Vantage will also be opening Å Mighty Heart, which many critics are predicting will earn its star, Angelina Jolie, an Oscar for her performance as Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.