This weekend movie-goers can choose from 3 new wide releases:
Director D.J. Caruso re-teams with Shia LaBeouf for another thriller Eagle Eye (reviews); Spike Lee brings James McBride's novel Miracle at St. Anna (reviews); And Richard Gere and Diane Lane spend Nights in Rodanthe (reviews)
Dave McNary and Pamela McClintock of Variety:
DreamWorks/Paramount's government-run-amok thriller "Eagle Eye" should shake the box office awake this weekend, while films going after older auds could see traffic slowed by Friday night's planned presidential debate.
Latter category includes Warner Bros.' Diane Lane-Richard Gere romantic drama "Nights in Rodanthe" and Disney World War II drama "Miracle at St. Anna," directed by Spike Lee.
Studio distrib execs expect the weekend B.O. to be impacted by the debate, if it goes ahead. Republican nominee John McCain was trying to delay the showdown with Democratic candidate Barak Obama because of the economic crisis, but by Thursday afternoon, McCain aides were indicating that he would show up.
Toplining Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, "Eagle Eye" will open in 3,400 theaters and is rated PG-13.
Pic revolves around two strangers who are framed as terrorists, only to find out that the U.S. government is setting them up.
This weekend last year, Disney's family pic "The Game Plan" opened to $22.9 million; "Eagle Eye" is expected to do north of that, and perhaps even reach $30 million. Also on the same weekend in 2007, Universal's "The Kingdom" opened to $17.1 million.
Most are betting on "Rodanthe" to come in No. 2 for the weekend, and possible hit double digits. Film opens in 2,704 theaters. In September 2003, Lane starrer "Under the Tuscan Sun" debuted to $9.7 million.
"St. Anna" opens in far fewer theaters (1,185). Disney took a similar approach with two previous Lee films, "Summer of Sam," which opened to $6 million, and "He Got Game," which bowed to $7.6 million. "St. Anna" should fall in that range.
"St. Anna" is based on the real-life story of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, who fought in Italy. Pic is tracking strongest among older males, and should appeal heavily to African-Americans.
Among holdovers, Sony's "Lakeview Terrace" and Focus Features' "Burn After Reading" will remain strong players. Through Wednesday, "Lakeview's" cume was $7.9 million and "Burn's" was $38.6 million. "Lakeview," which came in No. 1 last weekend, enters its second sesh, while "Burn" heads into its third weekend.
Nicole Sperling of EW:
Shia LaBeouf-on-the-run thriller looks like it will easily shake off the weekend's two other new releases.
Eagle Eye has an edge but the critics are not all that thrilled by it.
Next Up: Michael Cera and Kat Dennings take a wild ride in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist ...And the cineplex goes to the dogs in Beverly Hills Chihuahua.