Just because Nicolas Cage's "Ghost Rider" decimated the competition the film's first week out (earning a record-breaking $51.5 million over the holiday) doesn't mean this coming weekend is going to be a walk in the park for the newest superhero on the movie scene. At least, that's what a few inept Reno cops and Jim Carrey would like to think.
"Ghost Rider" proved the critics wrong — at least the ones that were able to see it — by becoming the first blockbuster of 2007 its opening weekend (see " 'Ghost Rider' Burns 'Bridge' In Box-Office Fight"). Now, however, comes the time when we learn if we're looking at a lucky opener or a budding franchise. This weekend is the make-or-break one for the Rider.
Jim Carrey isn't going to be doing Cage any favors by opening "The Number 23" this weekend. While films out of Carrey's comedic comfort zone are pretty hit and miss — for every "Truman Show" there's a "Majestic" — the fact that this one is in the horror/thriller genre might bring in an audience all its own, and one not lamenting the fact that Carrey isn't making funny faces.
If comedy is what you're in the mood for though, fear not: The team behind "Reno 911! Miami" has you covered. Thus far, the most clueless cops to hit the screen since Steve Guttenberg strapped on his holster have been relegated to cult status thanks to their Comedy Central show. This weekend they're looking to widen their appeal with a big-screen adventure all their own. Look for a bunch of fun celebrity cameos in this one. One hint: There's an appearance by a former wrestler whose name rhymes with the Mock (see "Paul Rudd, 'A Lot Of Nudity': Tales From Set Of 'Reno 911!: Miami' ").
If a family outing is in your future this weekend, you'll probably want to set your sights on "The Astronaut Farmer." Billy Bob Thornton left his potty mouth in his old Santa costume at home for this one. Here he's a farmer with big dreams and an even bigger rocket in the barn. It's heartwarming, "Field of Dreams" kind of stuff.
The Predictions: It's a rare treat for the Projection Booth to be visited by a star of one of the films that's actually opening that very week, but leave it to Mr. Fantastic himself to take the gamble. Ioan Gruffudd, star of this summer's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" and this week's "Amazing Grace" (opening in limited release), stopped by the Booth to make a fearless prediction. And never let it be said this man wasn't humble — he didn't even pick his own movie to come in #1. But it's safe to say Gruffudd's little summer flick will be everybody's pick come June 15.
What will be #1? How much will it rake in?
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Ghost Rider" ($25 million)
"Normally I'd be inclined to put my money on a Jim Carrey movie, but I just don't feel like people are dying to see 'The Number 23' as much as his usual fare. Nicolas Cage and 'Ghost Rider' will drive all over the competition this weekend, and hopefully convince Marvel to make a sequel with a darker director like Rob Zombie or David Gordon Green. If it makes $25 million, that should still be plenty."
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "The Number 23" ($25 million)
"It's tough for me to bet against a film that set records its opening weekend, but something tells me 'Ghost Rider' is going to take a rather steep plunge in its second week out. The word of mouth is mixed at best. Meanwhile, everywhere I look Jim Carrey is spooking me out, hyping his new flick. Maybe I'm easily swayed, but I say 'The Number 23' will just edge out Nic Cage's superhero flick."
Ioan Gruffudd, star of "Amazing Grace": "Ghost Rider" ($30 million)
"I think 'Ghost Rider' might be #1 because of the comic book audience. I am praising them highly, because I will be relying on them come June the 15th to make 'Fantastic Four' huge. I've just got a feeling 'Ghost Rider' might win the week again ... maybe 'Ghost Rider' #1, 'Amazing Grace' #2, and 'Number 23' third. 'Ghost Rider' might make $30 million."
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