Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your bulletproof guide to everything new, noteworthy and potentially misconceived at the movies. This week, werewolves attack, Brendan Fraser slums (again), and the Weinsteins dump Mickey Rourke.
WHAT'S NEW: We don't expect the unusual box-office surge that accompanied last weekend's January afterthoughts to continue this time around, but we know better than to underestimate action/horror franchises and Brendan Fraser curios regardless of their release dates. Take Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the latest entry in the gothic trash canon that loses Kate Beckinsale but retains Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy in the service of werewolves-versus-vampires schlock that should overachieve slightly at $28.8 million. The week's other new wide release, Warner's Inkheart, won't finish anywhere near that, though the PG-rated Fraser/Helen Mirren fantasy should challenge the redoubtable Paul Blart: Mall Cop in the neighborhood of $16.3 million.
Also opening: Outlander, a forgettable something about Vikings with Jim Caviezel; the oversexed splatter entry Donkey Punch; and major award-season expansions for The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Rachel Getting Married, The Wrestler and Slumdog Millionaire.
THE BIG LOSER: Revolutionary Road's nearly 900-screen expansion would have occurred whether or not Oscar abandoned it in its snubby wake. But that dismissal — combined with the expansions of actual nominees (all of which have the added benefit of being, you know, watchable) will handily undercut its new ubiquity, nudging it below $4 million and accelerating its land-speed record to DVD oblivion.
THE UNDERDOG: Speaking of oblivion, The Weinstein Company would have liked nothing more for its long-shelved Elmore Leonard adaptation Killshot, a mess no one can necessarily endorse but which should benefit from the tailwind of Mickey Rourke's Wrestler nomination. Even on five screens and with no marketing to speak of, there is just enough of an audience alienated by the mid-winter movie doldrums around them to nudge this into the $45,000 range. Which might suck for Rourke, who could do without the bad word-of-mouth as Academy voters prep their ballots.
FOR SHUT-INS: It's not looking so good this week on the DVD front, where the modestly well-reviewed The Express goes to war with Saw V, Amusement, City of Ember, Max Payne, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and, by popular-ish demand, The Powerpuff Girls: The Complete Series. All the more reason to see Killshot, we guess.