What are you going to the movies to see this weekend?

‘Santa,’ ‘Spy’ Bows Look to Exceed Low Expectations
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) – Executives at the studios sending out this session’s two wide openers are hoping mediocre pre-release tracking data will be proved wrong at the box office.
Disney’s “The Santa Clause 2” and Sony’s “I Spy,” both relatively high-profile releases, have drawn underwhelming responses in studios’ surveys of prospective moviegoers, industry sources said.
But the Mouse’s Tim Allen starrer is G-rated, and it’s notoriously tough to predict how ankle-biter pictures will perform. And Sony’s Eddie Murphy-Owen Wilson action comedy — a PG-13-rated adaptation of the classic TV show — looks to emulate “Jackass: The Movie” and “The Ring,” which did much better business with young males than had been projected.
All things considered, handicappers forecast each of the openers should ring up at least $15 million-$20 million through Sunday. But it’s unclear which of the new films is more likely to finish No. 1 or No. 2 on the frame.
“We both are targeting audiences that are hesitant to commit early,” Sony distribution president Rory Bruer conceded. “We’ve had a lot of word of mouth screenings for ‘I Spy’ that have gone excellent with young males. But the tracking is definitely hard to figure out in that quadrant.”
Bruer has nailed down a sizable 3,182 playdates for “Spy” despite continued crowded conditions in the theatrical marketplace. Double-screening in many venues will produce a screen count of more than 4,200.
“We’ve definitely got the locations,” Bruer said. “And even though it’s crowded, we like our positioning in the calendar.”
But that may be an eloquent way of saying it ain’t gonna get easier to attract young males for a while.
Universal/Imagine bows the highly anticipated Eminem pic “8 Mile” Nov. 8, and Warner Bros. unspools “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” Nov. 15. Then, MGM debuts “Die Another Day” — the latest James Bond actioner, with a decidedly younger orientation this time around — on Nov. 22.
Disney, which bows its “Treasure Planet” toon Nov. 29, has a clearer field for the next few weeks, though “Harry Potter” is sure to preoccupy many family patrons along with most other auds. Disney has lined up 3,350 engagements for the “Santa” sequel, in keeping with the time-honored practice of bowing family pictures as wide as possible.
A bright spot in “Santa’s” pre-release tracking data was decent interest expressed by older women — who presumably would be accompanied by kids or grandkids.
Friday’s limited openers include Lions Gate’s Sean Penn starrer “The Weight of Water,” which unspools in 27 locations. Sony/Revolution’s Adam Sandler starrer “Punch-Drunk Love” moves from limited to wide release, now set for 1,252 playdates.
So enjoy the popcorn and I’ll see you at the movies!