April 24, 2009 / 2:33 AM / 10 years ago

Beyonce thriller "Obsessed" leads new releases

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The final weekend of the spring box office season boasts four new pictures in wide release.

Singer Beyonce arrives at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

As for picking a winner, lots of luck. But it does seem certain “17 Again” will relinquish the box office crown, with an expected second-weekend tally of $12 million or so for the Zac Efron comedy. It’s considered likely that at least one or more of the new pictures will register a bit more than that.

But which one will finish first? That’s much less clear.

The Sony thriller “Obsessed” looks capable of attracting at least mid-teen millions through Sunday, though its ultimate haul hinges greatly on how it draws outside of core urban demos. The cast includes Beyonce Knowles (“Dreamgirls”), Idris Elba (“28 Weeks Later”) and Ali Larter (“Resident Evil: Extinction”).

“It has a very solid cast, and Beyonce has an all-audience appeal,” Sony domestic distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Paramount’s DreamWorks-produced “The Soloist” — a $40 million-plus production helmed by Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx — is probably the highest-profile picture hitting multiplexes. But the delayed winter release has drawn mixed reviews, so teen millions are certainly doable but not quite guaranteed.

“Fighting,” Universal’s drama about bare-knuckle brawling that stars Terrence Howard and Channing Tatum, has been tracking in similar terrain as “The Soloist.”

The weekend’s final wide release is rather anomalous.

Disney opened its James Earl Jones-narrated documentary “Earth” on Wednesday, which was the national eco-holiday Earth Day. The inaugural entry in a planned series of nature documentaries to be branded as Disney Nature releases, “Earth” boasts uncertain box office prospects.

“It’s a labor of love, and we’ll see,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane mused. “The idea is to bring out something different and try to grow the business.”

Meantime, Universal will be hoping for strong second session for Russell Crowe’s “State of Play,” which bowed softly at No. 2 last weekend with $14.1 million. The $60 million adaptation of a British miniseries, “Play” also has an important U.K. opening this weekend.

Editing by Dean Gooodman at Reuters

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