Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your guide to everything new, noteworthy and shoved down your throat at the movies. This week: Bride Wars commence, Gary Oldman slums, and Clint Eastwood expands.
WHAT'S NEW: The critical darling Bride Wars — up a stunning 11% from yesterday's Rotten Tomatoes opprobrium — should wrest the top spot from reigning holiday champ Marley & Me, with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson hugging, mugging and pranking their way to about $18.8 million in the customary early-January junk market. Gary Oldman, so brilliant in his tormented, underrated Dark Knight turn, rejoins TDK co-writer David S. Goyer for The Unborn, which should effectively cash in both men's '08 goodwill in the service of Odette Yustman's tank-topped demonic possession. That might break the top three if Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino slips up en route to 2,800 screens, but we doubt either scenario in the thick of awards season; even at 78, Clint can and will outpace his PG-13 nemesis by low seven figures, about $14.3 million to Unborn's $13.2 million.
Also opening: The Chazz Palminteri goombah-scammerooni boilerplate (complete with autistic son and token Christine Lahti appearance!) Yonkers Joe, and the bittersweet Southwestern indie romance, Tracing Cowboys.
THE BIG LOSER: Not so much a loser as wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time unfortunates, Yes Man and Valkyrie will drop off a little steeper than anyone probably expects — at least 45% each — as their respective constituencies head for Bride Wars and steady-holding awards-bait Benjamin Button and Gran Torino.
THE UNDERDOG: Adapted from a bestseller by T.D. Jakes and mining an underserved, African-American Christian audience that box-office trackers continue to underestimate and/or ignore, the marriage-repair drama Not Easily Broken should manage at least $5.7 million on less than 1,000 screens.
FOR SHUT-INS: New DVD's include the two-disc unrated version of Pineapple Express; the other, lesser pot-culture phenom The Wackness; Vin Diesel's New Year's gift Babylon A.D.; the self-prophesying Disaster Movie; Nicolas Cage's give-the-blind-guy-a-gun masterpiece Bangkok Dangerous; and 2009's first must-have box set, The Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season. Enjoy!