Weekend Predictions (Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, 2008): 'Yes Man' and 'Seven Pounds'

Featured Stories - on December 18, 2008 by Phil Contrino

Yes Man and Seven Pounds will be competing for the top spot at the box office. Will audiences choose comedy or drama?

Two box office juggernauts will be facing off at the box office this weekend. Plus, a little mouse will be scurrying around as well.

Jim Carrey's Yes Man marks a return to comedic form for the rubber-faced actor. Carrey's last physical appearance in a film was 2007's critically lambasted The Number 23, which opened with $14 million despite facing extremely negative buzz. Mainstream audiences will be glad to see Carrey doing the same kind of shtick that he executed in such films as Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty. Warner Bros. has given Yes Man a very strong advertising push, and it will debut at 3,434 locations.

Meanwhile, Will Smith's Seven Pounds also opens this weekend. The film has been receiving its share of negative reviews, and most critics have agreed that it is a decidedly somber film. The trailers for Pounds have been intentionally vague, which means that mainstream audiences may be extremely puzzled by the film. The drawing power of Smith may not be strong enough to overcome something like that. Plus, the film is opening at 2,758 locations, which is considerably less than his recent efforts.

“Will Smith has been one of the most reliable brand names in the movie business. His latest dark December drama will be a real test of his box office power - but in a recent Fandango survey, 63% of moviegoers say they’ll see Will Smith in any new movie, regardless of the subject matter," Harry Medved, spokesman for movie ticketing service Fandango told B OXOFFICE via email.

With all that in mind, look for Yes Man to win the weekend with close to $30 million. As for Seven Pounds, it will probably be the worst opening debut for Smith since The Legend of Bagger Vance opened in 2001 with $11.5 million, which equals around $15.1 million when adjusted for inflation. Seven Pounds should gross around $18 million during its opening frame.

Don't underestimate Universal's The Tale of Despereaux. The animated flick is opening on 3,104 screens, and it will be a solid choice for family audiences.

" Despereaux is surprising with its leading advance ticket sales, and it may be due to family audiences making their weekend plans – it’s currently outselling advance tickets for Will Smith’s Seven Pounds and Jim Carrey’s Yes Man," said Medved.

Despereaux could sneak away with about $10 million during its debut.

Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler opened on four screens on Wednesday, and it should post a very solid location average thanks to the awards buzz that has been building around Mickey Rourke's lead performance. The indie drama could bring in as much as $100,000 this weekend.

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