Over the last three weekends, no new release has been able to oust The Help from its top spot. But this weekend one film just might have a chance. Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburne in a medical thriller that sees the world crippled by the outbreak of an untreatable, rapidly progressing disease. Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) pulled out all the stops with this one, which is sure to enjoy a lucrative opening weekend at the box office.
However, this weekend’s Contagion might be the only thing that’s catching, and Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) and DreamWorks’ The Help could cling to the number two spot, with Lionsgate’s (NYSE:LGF) Warrior settling for third place. The male-oriented, martial-arts drama stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte.
Also being released this weekend are Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) comedy Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star and The Bubble Factory’s swamp-thing horror film Creature. On Saturday night, Sex and the City Fans will be treated to a sneak peek at the upcoming Sarah Jessica Parker comedy I Don’t Know How She Does It.
But no film stands a chance against the all-star cast of Contagion. Though the film is unlikely to do the kind of damage done by this summer’s heavyweights — namely Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 — considering its fall released and under $60 million production budget, its projected $20 million-plus opening is nothing to scoff at.
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Contagion will open in 3,222 theaters nationwide, including 257 IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) locations. Meanwhile, Warrior, expected to take in a more modest $8 million this weekend, will be opening in 1,869 theaters nationwide. Sony’s R-rated Bucky Larson, is looking at an opening of about $4 million, while the independently produced Creature would be happy with half that, as the Lousiana-set monster movie opens on 1,507 screens in the U.S. and 150 in Canada. I Don’t Know How She Does It will play in 800 theaters on Saturday night ahead of its nationwide release on September 16.