The calendar may say 2007, but the box office continues to be dominated by a 2006 juggernaut. The Christmas release "Night at the Museum" has been virtually walking over all comers in recent weeks, and even if four new entries are aiming to unseat the Ben Stiller comedy this weekend, the result may end up being the same.
Falling only 35 percent in its third week of release, "Night at the Museum" still earned nearly $24 million last weekend (see "Stiller #1: 'Night At The Museum' Tops 'Happyness' For Third Week"). Any of the four new contenders this week would be ecstatic with such a number in their first go-round. MGM has high hopes for "Arthur and the Invisibles" and its bizarre mix of live action and animation. Debuting on more than 2,500 screens, this flick — which boasts the talents of everyone from Snoop Dogg and Madonna to Mia Farrow (we told you it was bizarre) — comes to you straight from the fertile mind of director Luc "The Fifth Element" Besson.
For a more earthbound story, you might want to "Stomp the Yard" with Columbus Short and first-time actors Ne-Yo and Chris Brown (see "Ne-Yo, Chris Brown Open Up About Stepping Up For 'Stomp The Yard' "). As far as we know, this is the first movie to culminate with the National Step Show Championship, so we're all in uncharted territory.
Are you, like us, wondering when the next great crocodile horror thriller will be released? Well, put on your "Crocodile Dundee" T-shirt and get yourself a ticket to "Primeval." The flick recently got its opening bumped up in a hurry when the folks at Buena Vista no doubt noticed there was a weekend without a horror flick attached to it. So out of nowhere comes this one starring Dominic Purcell ("Prison Break") and Orlando Jones, both of whom have their fingers crossed for "Anaconda"-like success.
Last but not least is the long-awaited release of "Alpha Dog" (see "Why Is Justin Timberlake's 'Alpha Dog' Flick So Controversial?"). The drama features a who's who of young talent, from Justin Timberlake to Emile Hirsch, and even has a little Bruce Willis thrown in for good measure. Delayed by legal complications related to the real-life murder case it is based on, "Alpha Dog" has been talked about for so long we feel like the sequel should already be coming out. Still, with a cast that boasts more than its share of stars and a compelling story, we might just squeeze it onto our weekend to-do list.
The Predictions: There's a megawatt smile in the Projection Booth this week, and it doesn't belong to MTV News writer Larry Carroll or myself. Mandy Moore, star of no less than four flicks set for release this year, took a break to show us "box-office experts" up. Will Mandy's prediction be swayed by working with "Night at the Museum" star Robin Williams in an upcoming flick? Luckily we don't have to worry about any such compromising relationships. So without further ado, on to the predictions.
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
· Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Night at the Museum" ($19 million)
"No movie has led the box-office race for four straight weekends since 'The Return of the King' three years ago, but I'm thinking Ben Stiller is the new Frodo — and that's not just a joke about his height. Even with a drop-off to about $19 million (my prediction), Stiller will come out one step ahead of 'Stomp the Yard' and turn Justin's acting debut into a 'Dog.' "
· Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "Stomp the Yard" ($20 million)
"All that fun at the 'Museum' has to end sometime. And I'm thinking 'Stomp the Yard' might be the one to do it. Six years ago, another small movie released in January that involved dance ('Save the Last Dance') turned into an unlikely hit. I'm looking for 'Stomp' to step up and take the top spot."
· Mandy Moore, star of "Because I Said So": "Night at the Museum" ($20 million)
"I'm going to go with 'Night at the Museum.' I haven't seen it yet, but I'm a big fan of Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. Also, I love 'Pursuit of Happyness,' so that could be a close second. I'm gonna go with $20 million, a random number."
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