March 13, 2009 / 1:38 AM / 9 years ago

"Witch Mountain" challenging "Watchmen"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Will “Watchmen” turn out to be a one-week wonder?

Actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens (R) pose at the party following the premiere of the movie "Watchmen" in Hollywood, California March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

That could be a possibility following the film’s disappointing $55.2 million bow last weekend. This time around, Warner Bros.’ superhero picture won’t be helped by the emergence of three wide openers: Disney’s family adventure “Race to Witch Mountain,” Universal’s R-rated horror film “The Last House on the Left” and Fox Atomic’s R-rated youth comedy “Miss March.”

“Witch Mountain” seems strongest among the new pictures. Some industry observers believe it will outpace “Watchmen,” even though the R-rated comic-book adaptation should ring up $20 million or more this frame.

A weekend-to-weekend drop of 60%, par for the course for a big action title, would yield a $22 million session for “Watchmen.” The PG-rated “Witch Mountain” is tracking well enough to suggest a similar bow, with prerelease interest in surveys broader than the kid-pic support one might expect.

“Witch Mountain” stars Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson (“The Game Plan”) in a reworking of Disney’s 1975 action adventure “Escape to Witch Mountain.”

“The width of the audience may be more than people were expecting,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said.

“Last House” seems likely to open in the high-teen millions. Produced by Rogue Pictures, the film stars Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter in a refashioning of Wes Craven’s 1972 horror thriller.

Tracking data on “Miss March” have been soft, with modest interest among young adults representing its best shot at market traction. “March,” then, could be mired in the middle-single-digit millions through Sunday.

Friday’s limited releases include Overture’s bicoastal exclusives for “Sunshine Cleaning,” starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters

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