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King Ben will likely rule again in theaters

first_imgI’ll bet ya didn’t know this: There are two Ben Stillers. There’s box-office king Ben, who has had such $250 million-plus grossing smashes in recent years as “Night at the Museum” and “Meet the Fockers.” Then there’s box office commoner Ben. Remember “School for Scoundrels,” “Envy” and “Duplex”? Didn’t think so. My strong hunch is that Stiller will be royal Ben once again this weekend with the debut of his new wide-release comedy “The Heartbreak Kid.” It bowed in more than 3,000 theaters today, has an appealing marketing campaign and was directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who also did “Something About Mary” with Stiller. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityI think “Heartbreak” is a shoo-in for a first-place debut with an opening weekend gross of $25 million to $30 million. SEEKING TICKET SALES: I’ve heard zippo buzz about “The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising,” which opened in nearly as many theaters as “Heartbreak” but won’t make nearly as much money. If it takes in more than $10 million today to Sunday, I’ll be seeking a new crystal ball. Holdovers “The Game Plan” and “The Kingdom” should easily edge it out for the second and third spots, but I’m not sure in which order. SLOWLY EXPANDING HORIZONS: The Brad Pitt flick “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” will be a little easier to find since it expands to 61 locations today while “The Darjeeling Limited” starring Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody will be in 19 theaters. Then there is the new George Clooney thriller “Michael Clayton,” which has him in a more serious “Good Night, and Good Luck” mode than Danny Ocean mode. “Clayton” bowed in 15 locations today. THE OTHERS: With about 1,000 theaters apiece, the drama “The Jane Austen Book Club” expands from extremely limited release today and will try to build on positive word of mouth while the Jennifer Lopez- produced urban drama “Feel the Noise” will do its best to make some box-office noise. Expectations are lower with fewer screens so $5 million or so should be the most either film could hope for. LOOKING UP? Will the Stiller comedy, strong holdovers and the rest of the field be enough to put the domestic box office back on solid footing after a two-week mini-slump? Maybe. It’s no shoo-in since a year ago this weekend, “The Departed” had a $26.9 million bow, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” opened to $18.5 million, and “Employee of the Month” debuted at $11.4 million. These are the numbers the field must top. CRUISE CRED: Tom Cruise knows he’s still on the comeback trail after his “Mission Impossible III” movie bombed and Paramount Pictures severed ties with him. So instead of playing up Tom Cruise, superstar, he is reminding people in initial TV spots for the new war drama “Lions for Lambs” that he is a three-time Academy Award nominee. Cruise is third-billed behind Oscar winner Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. He’s never won the the golden statue but was a strong contender with Best Actor nods for “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Jerry Maguire” and a supporting-actor nomination for “Magnolia.” But then again, Cruise’s Oscar winning ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, has some serious Oscar cred after winning for “The Hours.” That did nothing to help the performance of her summer mega-bomb “The Invasion.” [email protected] (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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