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'Twelve' Thieves A-Heisting at Box Office
Thu Dec 9, 2004 08:45 PM ET
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By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The Hollywood studios may have given audiences time off last week to get their holiday shopping done, but now they've returned -- and with a vengeance, releasing two high-profile sequels, "Ocean's Twelve" and "Blade: Trinity."

Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing out its big guns with the much-anticipated "Ocean's Twelve," starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, et al. In fact, the entire gang from 2001's "Ocean's Eleven" has returned for director Steven Soderbergh, and Catherine Zeta-Jones has joined the heist film, this time set in Europe. The cast, with the exception of new mother Julia Roberts, has been out promoting the film heavily, and while their incessant talk of on-set practical jokes may be wearing thin, the awareness for the film is through the roof.

"Ocean's Twelve" should exceed the opening number reaped by its predecessor, which was an impressive $38.1 million from 3,075 theaters. This time around, the PG-13-rated film is bowing in 3,290 houses. If "Twelve" surpasses "Eleven," it will mark the largest bow for Soderbergh. If it exceeds the $41 million opening for "The Perfect Storm," "Twelve" also will mark the largest opening for Clooney, who had a hand in producing the film along with Soderbergh through their company, Section Eight.

New Line Cinema got a jump on the weekend, opening "Blade: Trinity" in 2,912 theaters Wednesday. The R-rated film, the third in the series starring Wesley Snipes as the half-human/half-vampire Blade, did an estimated $5.5 million Wednesday. From writer-director David S. Goyer, who also wrote the screenplays for the first two iterations, "Trinity" finds Snipes' character framed for a series of murders and forced to unite with a group of vampire hunters. Joining the cast this time around are Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, indie fave Parker Posey, wrestler Triple H and Dominic Purcell. Luring in young males, "Trinity" could gross in a range equivalent to "Blade II," which opened to $32.5 million in March 2002.

Beyond the new releases, holiday-themed films are still looking to generate more coin before Christmas weekend. Sony Pictures and Revolution Studios' Tim Allen starrer "Christmas With the Kranks" earned an additional $11.1 million last weekend, and Warners' "The Polar Express" reaped $10.7 million. The two films should draw in some more audiences who are feeling the Christmas spirit.

In limited release, Disney will bow Wes Anderson's latest romp, "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou," on two screens in Los Angeles and New York. Starring Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Anjelica Huston, "Life Aquatic" centers on famous oceanographer Steve Zissou (Murray) as he and his crew set sail to hunt down a mysterious jaguar shark. The R-rated film looks to pull in a similar audience to Anderson's previous films, but the jury is out as to whether it can gross similarly to "The Royal Tenenbaums," which pulled in $52.4 million in 2001. Co-starring in the film are Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum.

Sony Pictures Classics expands Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education" to Los Angeles this weekend. The NC-17 film opened Nov. 19 on three screens in New York and last weekend averaged $29,619 per screen. The film has earned $526,559 in three weeks in release.

ThinkFilm opens "Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids" in one theater in New York. The winner of best documentary feature at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, "Brothels" focuses on the children of prostitutes in the red light district of Calcutta, India.

Reuters/VNU



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