August 24, 2006

“Invincible” set to lead weekend box office

By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As the summer winds
down, potential moviegoers might choose to take in the last few
rays of sunshine rather than cloister themselves inside a
darkened theater. Hollywood is counteracting that urge by
throwing a lot of films at audiences this weekend, hoping at
least one movie sticks.

Disney will launch the Mark Wahlberg football drama
"Invincible," and Universal Pictures is opening the OutKast
musical "Idlewild." New Line Cinema is hoping to turn kids on
to "How to Eat Fried Worms," and Warner Bros. Pictures cracks
open "Beerfest," the latest offering from the Broken Lizard
comedy troupe.

The true-life tale "Invincible" has the best chance of
taking the crown from last weekend's champ, "Snakes on a
Plane," with industry observers forecasting three-day ticket
sales in the $12 million-$15 million range.

The film is an example of one of the things Disney does
best: releasing inspiring stories about sports heroes. From
"Miracle" to "Glory Road," the studio has had a long track
record of delivering PG-rated films that connect with a wide
swath of moviegoers.

Wahlberg plays substitute teacher Vince Papale, who tries
out for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles during an unprecedented
open tryout -- and makes the team. Reviews have been positive
for the film, which also stars Greg Kinnear of "Little Miss
Sunshine" fame. The film marks the feature directing debut of
cinematographer Ericson Core.

"Beerfest," an R-rated comedy about American brothers (Paul
Soter and Erik Stolhanske) who go to Oktoberfest and get
involved in a super-secret beer competition, should gross in
the $8 million-$10 million range.

It was directed by Broken Lizard principal Jay
Chandrasekhar who previously shot "The Dukes of Hazzard" for
Warner Bros. The last two Broken Lizard films -- "Super
Troopers" and "Club Dread" -- were released by Fox Searchlight.

New Line is counting on parents who remember Thomas
Rockwell's popular 1973 children's book "How to Eat Fried
Worms" to take their kids to the movies, even if early reviews
have labeled the film "old-fashioned" and "quaint." The
PG-rated film centers on a boy who inadvertently challenges the
school bully and has to eat worms as part of a bet. Tracking
has the film opening in the single digits.

Ditto for Universal's "Idlewild," starring OutKast duo
Andre Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton along with "Hustle & Flow"
headliner Terrence Howard.

The musical is set in the South circa mid-1930s, and
centers on a nightclub performer (Patton) and his piano player
(Benjamin) dealing with gangsters who want to take over their
club. Sitting on the shelf for two years while OutKast finished
the soundtrack, the film could connect with black and urban
audiences who are primarily attracted to the music. It was
written and directed by music video veteran Bryan Barber.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter