Box Office Preview

'Hannah Montana' Movie: How Huge?

Miley Cyrus' concert film saw $18 mil in advance ticket sales, and will get even bigger this Super Bowl weekend -- enough to propel it to a win over ''The Eye'' and ''Rambo''

OH MONTANA ! Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana concert movie is set to triumph at the box office this weekend
OH MONTANA! Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana concert movie is set to triumph at the box office this weekend

Hey, it's Super Bowl weekend, sports fans! So who ya got in the big game, the Pats or Big Blue? Me? I'm going with my man Tom Brady. You know, we University of Michigan alumni with super-hot girlfriends need to stick together.

Oh, and speaking of predictions, who ya got in the box office race? Me? Erm, tough one this week. Why? Well, it is Super Bowl weekend, which means that many regular filmgoers will be staying home and watching football and all related TV shenanigans. (To be sure, if the Super Bowl were a movie that people bought tickets to watch, it would gross — get this, I'm not making this up — approximately $600 million this weekend. Seriously, that's how big it is.) Film studios, therefore, have had to get creative with how they program opposite an event that pulls so many people away. In years past, horror movies have worked well on this weekend — scary movies have been No. 1 for three years running — and that's why The Eye should do nicely. But there is a major upset in the offing: The Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus concert film is poised to steal the whole thing. Sure, that would be an impressive turn of events somewhat akin to the Giants beating the Patriots, but I think it's going to happen.

Anyway, I'll make my picks below, but I invite you to head over to EW.com's Box Office Poll to cast your vote for the film that you think will score the most touchdowns at the multiplex.

THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE

Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
Walt Disney · G · 683 theaters · NEW
I've been agonizing over my choice here for days, and have decided to go with my gut: It may have one of the most ridiculous titles in the history of cinema, but this tween-oriented concert flick, featuring one of the most popular entertainers around, will take the trophy. Truly, I can't think of a demographic less interested in the Super Bowl than young girls, so that's a definite plus. But even if we weren't talking about it as pure counter-programming, HM&MC:BOBWC would be a formidable film. It's showing in 3-D. It's playing for a single week only. It comes with a huge, I mean humongous, fan base. For about a gazillion young ladies out there, this is the real Super Bowl. So how well will it do? That's where this call gets even tougher to make. For one thing, some $18 mil in tickets for the film were pre-sold. What's more, while the movie is playing in only 683 locations, you'd have to imagine that it's the kind of phenomenon that will earn more than $30,000 per theater. (A comparable situation was when Borat opened to an average of $31,607 in 837 venues.) And from there, it's mere math.
Weekend prediction: $24 million

The Eye
Lionsgate · PG-13 · 2,436 theaters · NEW
Consider this a do-over for Jessica Alba, whose previous horror release, Awake, tanked two months ago, debuting with just $5.9 mil. The Eye has a better pedigree — it's based on the 2002 Hong Kong horror hit about a blind woman who regains her sight and starts seeing scary things — and it's opening on Super Bowl weekend, which, as I mentioned before, has been very good to fright flicks. Last year at this time, The Messengers bowed to $14.7 mil. The year before, When a Stranger Calls banked $21.6 mil. The year before that, Boogeyman brought in $19 mil. I know, I know, who even remembers any of these movies? But still, you get my point.
Weekend prediction: $14 million

Rambo
Lionsgate · R · 2,764 theaters · 2nd weekend
Sly Stallone's sequel, which almost won its first weekend, has been holding strong during the middle of the week, earning more than a million bucks per day. In fact, it's a minor hit so far, with more than $22 mil in its pocket. All of which is good news for me, because the success of Rambo and all those other recently resurrected action franchises — Rocky, Die Hard, etc. — means that I can still hold onto a thin slice of hope that they're going to make a sequel to the Greatest Movie of All Time, Top Gun.
Weekend prediction: $9 million

Meet the Spartans
Fox · PG-13 · 2,643 theaters · 2nd weekend
This spoof has barely been out for a week and already it ranks high (or, I guess, low) on the IMDb's poll of the worst movies of all time. Ouch! Not that that'll deter people from going to see it, of course.
Weekend prediction: $8 million

Over Her Dead Body
New Line · PG-13 · 1,977 theaters · NEW
Here we have a high-concept rom-com about a woman (Eva Longoria — sorry, Eva Longoria Parker) who dies on her wedding day and then haunts the new psychic girlfriend (Lake Bell) of her former husband-to-be (Paul Rudd). Uh...FUN!
Weekend prediction: $7 million

THE OTHER NEW RELEASE

Strange Wilderness
Paramount · R · 1,208 theaters · NEW
This raucous comedy about a ratings-strapped nature program is from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and has quite a cast — Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Jeff Garlin, Robert Patrick, Harry Hamlin, and, yes, 91-year-old Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine. So why does Paramount appear to be kinda burying it?
Weekend prediction: $3 million

Originally posted Jan 31, 2008
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