LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Samuel L. Jackson will likely vie with Dane Cook and Kate Hudson for top honors at the weekend box office in North America, while two other films face a dismal reception.
Jackson plays a crooked cop in the Screen Gems thriller "Lakeview Terrace," while Cook and Hudson star in Lionsgate's romantic comedy "My Best Friend's Girl."
The Friday openers each look likely to gross in the double-digit millions for the weekend, and perhaps stray into the teen millions. Prerelease interest in both films seems to overlap only slightly, with "Girl" skewing significantly younger than "Lakeview." Hudson, with a little help from Matthew McConaughey, topped the charts in February when "Fool's Gold" opened to $21.6 million.
There is an outside chance that reigning champ "Burn After Reading" could repeat at No. 1 if the Coen brothers comedy suffers an unusually modest drop from its $19.1 million opening.
On the other hand, prospects appear decidedly iffy for two other new releases: "Igor," an animated family feature with a voice cast led by John Cusack; and "Ghost Town," a comic fantasy that stars Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear.
"Igor" will hit $10 million only if the recent absence of family-friendly titles causes a last-minute surge of interest in the 2-D animated feature. Perhaps tellingly, the Weinstein Co. initially held domestic rights to "Igor" until bailing on the mission and prompting producer Exodus Films to turn to MGM for distribution.
Meanwhile, "Ghost Town" is tracking so poorly that Paramount recently opted to slash the number of playdates for the DreamWorks production -- seldom a good sign. Whether the product of a tired premise, its well-regarded but less-than-stellar cast or mixed early reviews, it's hard to see how "Ghost Town" fetches more than single-digit millions during its first weekend.
With the prospect of a couple misfires in the batch of market entrants, the weekend will struggle to outperform the comparable frame of a year earlier unless "Lakeview" or "Girl" pops well beyond projections. The third weekend of 2007's fall box office produced $97 million in collective grosses during a frame topped by the $23.7 million bow of "Resident Evil: Extinction."