Box Office Preview

Psycho Thrillers

The Kate Beckinsale/Luke Wilson horror flick looks to occupy the No. 1 spot this weekend, with ''Fracture'' our bet to crack the top 2, a hairline ahead of ''Disturbia''

WINDOW TO A SCREAM Expect a wave of moviegoers to check out Beckinsale and Wilson in Vacancy this weekend
Image credit: Suzanne Tenner
WINDOW TO A SCREAM Expect a wave of moviegoers to check out Beckinsale and Wilson in Vacancy this weekend

It'll be another close contest at the box office this weekend, as studios start rolling out the last of their mid-budgeted genre fare before the summer blockbusters take control. As such, two new R-rated movies — the horror flick Vacancy and the murder mystery Fracture — will duke it out for supremacy. Even though star power proved a non-factor in last week's showdown (Perfect Stranger made a mere $11.5 mil ... ouch!), it's just about the only thing that I can see separating these favorites. Thus, look for Vacancy, with the sexier pairing of Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, to edge out Fracture, with the team of Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins. Then again, all that could go out the window if formidable holdover Disturbia spoils their premieres and repeats as champ.

So, really, the point is: It's anyone's guess. And by ''anyone'' I mean you. Last week, 35 percent of EW.com readers picked Perfect Stranger to take No. 1, while eventual champ Disturbia got 32 percent. This weekend presents another tough choice, sure, but I'm screwing up my courage to make my bet — and you should too, in the poll below.

THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE

Vacancy
Screen Gems · R · 2,551 theaters · NEW
She may have risen to fame in quirky Brit flicks (Cold Comfort Farm) and indie pics (The Last Days of Disco), but Kate Beckinsale has emerged a pretty big star via the Underworld series. That the original vampire/werewolf tale bowed with $21.8 mil in 2003 and last year's Underworld: Evolution opened to $26.9 mil bodes well for this dark movie, in which the actress and Luke Wilson play a squabbling couple who get trapped in a foreboding rural motel. Most R-rated movies have been performing poorly this spring, and competition from the similarly spooky Fracture and Disturbia will keep grosses low, but Beckinsale's growing fan base should help propel it to a win.
Weekend prediction: $14 million

Fracture
New Line · R · 2,443 theaters · NEW
Anthony Hopkins puts a spin on his Hannibal Lecter persona by playing a rich engineer who murders his wife. Ryan Gosling is the hotshot DA on the case. It's a fun film and critics like it: As of late Thursday, Fracture was scoring a solid 70 out of 100 on Metacritic.com. (Full disclosure: I visited the set of this twisty thriller when it was shooting in L.A. last year.) Certainly, Gosling is a rising star with an ever-expanding appeal, particularly due to the continued popularity of The Notebook, which earned $81 mil in theaters three years ago. So it's his costar I'm concerned about: After years of weak Silence of the Lambs sequels and knockoffs, I'm just not sure people are as keen on Hopkins (a brilliant actor, of course) doing his sinister thing as they once were.
Weekend prediction: $13 million

Disturbia
Paramount · PG · 3,015 theaters · 2nd weekend
Look at that little movie go! Disturbia's midweek numbers are impressive: It has earned more than a million smackers per day. And as Shia LaBeouf inches ever closer to major stardom, his film (which cost a reported $20 mil plus marketing and distribution and has brought in $26 mil so far) nears profitability.
Weekend prediction: $13 million

Meet the Robinsons
Disney · G · 3,003 theaters · 4th weekend
In the bank: a hefty $75 mil and counting for the family flick, which hasn't dropped more than 34 percent in four weeks. Kids gotta see something, you know.
Weekend prediction: $9 million

Blades of Glory
Paramount · PG-13 · 3,459 theaters · 4th weekend
Another slight 35 percent decline should give the Will Ferrell-Jon Heder comedy enough money to make it the fourth 2007 release to exceed $100 million at the domestic box office.
Weekend prediction: $9 million

THE OTHER NEW RELEASES

Hot Fuzz
Rogue · R · 825 theaters · NEW
There's lots of, er, buzz for this action movie spoof from the makers of cult favorite Shaun of the Dead, which earned a nice $13.5 mil in limited domestic release two and a half years ago. Those who review movies are high on it, too (it has tallied a nice 78 on Metacritic). Both facts portend a sizzling debut on a limited number of screens.
Weekend prediction: $7 million

In the Land of Women
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 2,155 theaters· NEW
Director Jon Kasdan has quite the pedigree. His dad is the multiple Oscar-nominated Empire Strikes Back screenwriter/The Big Chill maestro/University of Michigan alum Lawrence Kasdan, and his brother is Jake Kasdan, who just made the terrific indie satire The TV Set. Unfortunately, that may not be enough in the case of this dramedy starring The O.C.'s Adam Brody, Panic Room's Kristen Stewart, and Top Gun's Meg Ryan. Reviews have been weak (yikes, EW's Owen Gleiberman gave it an F! Publicity has been light. And the cast is either still on its way up (Brody, Stewart) or inexplicably down and out (Ryan).
Weekend prediction: $6 million

Box Office Poll

Originally posted Apr 19, 2007
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