By Sarah Sluis
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a cancer patient in the dramedy 50/50 (2,458 theatres). The ads I've seen have gone for the stoner comedy angle, which has also been helped by the presence of dude actor Seth Rogen, who plays the man's friend. The casting and marketing should make the cancer-themed
movie an easier sell, and there's a chance a mid-teen millions opening will drive this picture to the top spot. 50/50 will have tough competition from The Lion King, which has reigned at the box office for the past two weeks, as well as Moneyball and feel-good family pic Dolphin Tale. These three titles should hold above $10 million.
Thanks to the "essential mystery of casting," the romantic comedy What's Your Number? (3,002 theatres) gets a thumbs-up from David Noh. Anna Faris, who's similarly enlivened stereotypical roles in movies like The House Bunny (a surprise hit), stars as a woman who decides she's slept with too many guys and tracks down her previous sexual partners in search of Mr. Right. Faris' "delectably quirky grace" should bring this movie above $10 million, but still lower than The House Bunny's $14.6 million summer debut.
Stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz met on the set of Dream House (2,660 theatres), later getting married. Considering that Dream House didn't screen for critics, it appears that Weisz and Craig were too busy giving each other googly eyes to widen their eyes in faux-fear and possibly save what looks to be a bad horror movie.
The faith-based production company behind Fireproof returns with Courageous (1,161 theatres), the tale of four police officers struggling with their religion. With over $2 million in advance ticket sales, this movie could surprise by driving infrequent moviegoers to the theatres.
On the specialty circuit, the fabulous character actor Michael Shannon stars in Take Shelter (3 theatres) as a man haunted by visions of an epic storm that may or may not be signs that he's delusional. The ever-present Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Debt, The Tree of Life) co-stars as his wife in the "eerie drama" critic Kevin Lally found "gripping." I reviewed Margaret (2 theatres), a drama I found imperfect in whole but composed of beautifully rendered scenes. The long-delayed movie is worth seeing for these moments of artistry, or as a cautionary tale of a film stuck for years due to lawsuits, indecision, and politics.
On Monday, we'll see where the half-dozen films in close competition land in the top ten.