Three guys enter and one guy leaves in a box-office battle royale for ultimate bragging rights between the biggest male stars under 30. Who will be Generation Y's new champion? Buckle up, this could get ugly.
Will it be Shia "The Bruising Beef" LaBeouf? Standing 5 feet 10 and a half inches, this L.A. brawler has a history of performing above his weight class, best evidenced last weekend with a surprise TKO of both Will Ferrell and Halle Berry. His "Disturbia" combo earned him a prize purse of $23 million and another title fight this weekend (see "Box-Office Beef: Shia's 'Disturbia' Destroys Bruce Willis' 'Stranger' "). Only 20 years old, LaBeouf already has a strong track record in tag-team matchups ("I, Robot" with Will Smith and "Constantine" with Keanu Reeves) and, while he plans on going back to that division soon ("Indy 4" with Harrison Ford and "Transformers" with the Autobots), the Beef should be a strong contender for this week's individual crown.
Or will it be Ryan "The Canuck With Pluck" Gosling? At 6 feet 1 inch, this fighting 26-year-old has the best "reach" of any of the contestants — as shown in his last bout, "Half Nelson," in which his exquisite form garnered him a slew of awards. He's all "hip and now," but is he ready for the big time? Promoters think so — his film "Fracture," co-starring Anthony Hopkins, is appearing on the most screens of any flick opening this weekend.
Or will it be Adam "The Marquee From O.C." Brody? The eldest of the combatants, the 27-year-old faces an uphill battle, as his "In the Land of Women" opens in only 700 theaters. Worried? Not Brody — in his corner is director Jon Kasdan, son of legendary heavyweight Lawrence ("The Big Chill," "The Accidental Tourist").
And don't count out the evening's undercard, which boasts two flicks equal to the task of climbing into the ring and taking out the youngsters. "Vacancy," starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, centers on a married couple who discover they're the unwitting stars of a snuff film. Potential crowd favorite "Hot Fuzz," meanwhile, is a genre-splitting romp through action-film clichés.
Let the battle begin.
The Predictions: Turn back your clocks, break out your parachute pants and snap on those metal bracelets — Jamie Kennedy is "Kickin It Old Skool," playing a mid-'80s breakdancer who gets stuck in a coma for 20 years. Best known for his comedy, Kennedy proved to MTV News that box-office predictions are serious business. Everybody Wang Chung if he wins.
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "Vacancy" ($15 million)
"I'd love to go with 'Hot Fuzz,' but it's only opening in 700 theaters. It's probably a smart move for Focus Features too — this one will last a while with the great word of mouth it's going to get. So what's it going to be? Another weekend of Shia-riffic dominance or one of the ho-hum wide-release newcomers? I'll take 'Vacancy,' but not for any special sort of number. It'll be lucky to muster $15 million."
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Vacancy" ($21 million)
"It's been a while since we've had a horror movie that wasn't a remake or sequel, and I'm guessing that audiences will be hungry for something in the 'Saw' or 'Hostel' tradition. Add in two recognizable stars, I can see a lot of people checking into 'Vacancy' this weekend. I'm predicting a $21 million haul, proving once again that character actor Frank Whaley is Hollywood gold."
Jamie Kennedy, "Kickin It Old Skool" star: "Disturbia" ($14 million)
" 'Vacancy' is gaining a lot [of steam] and could come out of nowhere. It could be #1. But I think 'Disturbia' is going to hold at, let's say, $14 million."
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