He's a Harvard alumnus and an Oscar-winning screenwriter, but Matt Damon's "Bourne" movies prove he's also one of the biggest (if most unlikely) action stars on the planet, an extraordinary everyman back for thirds with "The Bourne Ultimatum," presumably the last in a series of genre-redefining action films that have influenced everything from "Casino Royale" to "Batman Begins."
Shaky cameras, quick edits, bleached-out colors -- the gritty documentary style of the "Bourne" movies works because it completely matches its subject, an amnesiac man of action unsure of his past.
One thing it doesn't match is the flick's seeming prospects, which appear anything but shaky at the box office. Two movies in, the "Bourne" series has already racked up an impressive half-billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales, including nearly $300 million for 2004's "The Bourne Supremacy." Scoring $52.5 million in its first weekend, "Supremacy" did nearly double the business as "The Bourne Identity" in the same number of days. The folks behind "Ultimatum" would be hard-pressed to match that increase, but it's a fool's gamble to bet against Bourne. He could kill you with a napkin -- seriously.
Which, coincidentally, is exactly what we need to wipe away the tears (of joy? Of sadness?) that we know are coming with the weekend release of "Bratz," a girl-power extravaganza based on a popular, if somewhat controversial, line of pre-teen toys that is incidentally among the world's most popular gifts.
Not as in-demand -- judging, at least, by the reception it got when we tried -- is the type of gift advocated by Andy Samberg in his famous "SNL" skit alongside Justin Timberlake. He can put a "Di-- in a Box," but can he put a dent in the box office? He'll get his first shot with "Hot Rod," a comedy opening in 2,500 theaters.
But these movies aren't my kind of thing, you say. Never fear, "Underdog" is here! Starring Jason Lee as the voice of the caped canine, the live-action version of the popular animated television show debuts in 2,800 theaters.
Also opening this weekend in limited release is "El Cantante," a biopic of legendary Latino salsa singer Hector Lavoe that stars Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony; "Becoming Jane," the story of legendary author Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) in her early years; and "The Ten," a comedic compilation based on the Ten Commandments that stars Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Adam Brody, Jessica Alba and Gretchen Mol.
So will this weekend's box office be "Bourne" again, or does the presence of so many competitors mean Matt Damon's latest flick is "Bourne" under a bad sign? We asked our experts.
The Predictions: Bourne faces off against an unsavory adversary in "Ultimatum," so we thought it only fitting that this week we do as well -- and boy is our opponent "Ugly." Ana Ortiz, the (quite beautiful, actually) star of "Ugly Betty," made a bold prediction in saying "Bourne" will make $100 million. Do our writers agree? Find out below.
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "The Bourne Ultimatum" ($60 million)
"Must. Resist. Bourne. Puns! Sorry, I'm just not strong enough. Mr. Damon's awesome new action flick was 'Bourne' to be #1 at the box office. It's also intended to be the last 'Bourne' flick, depending on who you believe. One thing's for sure: With that hefty haul sure to come in this weekend for the superspy, I wouldn't count out a fourth go-'round."
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "The Bourne Ultimatum" ($55 million)
"While Jason Bourne's memory might not be too great, mine is sharp enough to remember that 2004's 'Bourne Supremacy' opened with a $52 million weekend. Factor in the box-office juggernaut known as David Strathairn and this could be the biggest flick yet in the hard-charging spy series. My prediction is that the movie takes in $55 million, which would be quite bratty to the 'Bratz' and leave 'Rod' feeling not-so-hot."
Ana Ortiz, "Ugly Betty" star: "The Bourne Ultimatum" ($100 million)
"It's going to be 'Bourne Ultimatum.' No question. I'm a huge fan and so excited [to go see it]. It's going to bring in $100 million."
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